Airtel Africa to build data hub in Kenya after Nigeria project

Wednesday February 14 2024

Airtel Africa Group CEO Segun Ogunsanya. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG


Airtel Africa plans to build a data centre in Nairobi, in what will become its second such facility on the continent after Nigeria as it moves to diversify its revenue streams.

The telco says the Nairobi data centre, which will be usable in telecoms and other sectors, will have a capacity of seven megawatts to trail the 36-megawatt centre that it plans to build in Lagos, Nigeria.

Airtel Africa chief executive Segun Ogunsanya said in a February 1 conference call with analysts the telco plans to start building the data in Nigeria and follow up with Kenya and complete by mid-2026.

“We are going to break ground in Nigeria in the next couple of weeks and the one in Kenya will follow soon. Construction takes about two years, so we’re looking at them coming into operation probably sometime in mid-year 2026.

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Mr Ogunsanya labelled the two planned data centres as the “key stars in our portfolio” and said they are going to be commercially operated.


Airtel says by building locally available data centre capacity, the speed to access digital services will improve and the cost of managing data will also come down, helping fuel more innovation and support a new generation of tech talent on the continent.

The project marks the latest bid by the firm to diversify its revenue streams away from the traditional business of communication and the relatively new mobile money business.

Airtel Africa last December launched Nxtra, its data hub business, that it said was founded on a commitment to meet the continent’s growing needs for trusted, and sustainable data centre capacity and to serve the fast-growing African digital economy.

Nxtra aims to build one of the largest networks of data centres in Africa with high-capacity data centres in major cities located strategically across Airtel Africa’s footprint, according to an earlier statement shared by the telco.

Mr Ogunsanya says that beyond the two data centres in Lagos and Nairobi, it is also going to have smaller data centres in its mobile cable landing stations including in Tanzania, DRC Congo and Gabon.

Airtel has been increasing its attention in the Kenyan market, with additional investments in the voice and mobile money business.

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The telco says most of its 5G sites it has deployed in five countries are in Nigeria and Kenya, with some in Zambia and Tanzania.

Airtel Kenya last December announced it has taken the number of its active 5G sites to 370, positioned in 16 counties and 180 wards nationwide.

The telco says its network infrastructure spans over 3,200 sites, providing coverage to 89 percent of all 47 counties in Kenya.