Business thrives on speed; in today’s climate, the ability to connect in an instant is what distinguishes the winners from the also-rans. In much of the developed world, this is a feature that is easily available and therefore often taken for granted. However, for developing and under-developed countries that are only now waking to the information revolution, such as those in the African heartland, such connectivity is the need of the hour.
Why Data Centres
With cloud computing providing so many distinct advantages, it makes perfect sense to seek to harness its power. Especially in African countries that lag behind in so many areas, providing data centres is one of the best ways of ensuring all-round development. Whether it is helping African governments provide better governance or healthcare services to the people, or making African businesses more competitive at a global level, having solid connectivity is the first step towards achieving these long-term goals.
With localised data centres, it will be easier to connect African businesses with global providers. The result of these initiatives is bound to be good – more variety, better offers, and connectivity at affordable costs. With cloud solutions being hosted at the local data centre, the factor of distance exits the equation; as a result, both speed and performance are sure to improve. With such systems, there will be shorter delays in long-distance transmission of data and fewer worries about network resiliency.
Bridging the Digital Chasm
Thanks to the vision of individuals such as Austine Ometoruwa, CEO of Trico Capital International, there has been a solid effort to develop local data centres in West Africa. Through a data centre project at Lagos, this organisation has helped the business community of Nigeria to improve its services. Until now such ventures have been a rarity, but in the past one or two years more players have entered the arena to look at making bandwidth more affordable to smaller businesses within the area. This sort of interest in developing localised data centres can help encourage the use of hosted and cloud services, giving different businesses the confidence to grow and thrive.
But before we can have cloud and hosted services the primary need is for stable bandwidth that is affordable. In this respect, there is a wide difference between several countries in the African subcontinent. For example, South Africa has one of the largest numbers of data centres in Africa, if not the world. However, many other African countries – such as Nigeria for instance – lag far behind. Although local demand for connectivity is growing, the lack of infrastructure means that several parts of Africa still remain untouched by the digital revolution.
However, it is vital to remember that merely establishing local data centres will not solve Africa’s connectivity woes. This act needs to be supplemented with other measures such as providing adequate funding and hiring technically qualified staff to man the data centres. For cloud services, you require broadband. In order to make it affordable, it is vital to have fixed line connectivity. While initiatives such as those launched by Austine Ometoruwa are indeed laudable, it is equally important to deregulate the telecommunication industry to allow it to meet the data requirements of the African business community.
Written by: Oluwaseyi only recently finished his Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Buffalo but he has had over a decade of experience online and might still have a geocities sites somewhere in the dusty corners of the web. Although now living in the USA, he has retained a strong interest in infrastructure development in his native city of Lagos, Nigeria and is planning a trip back once the spectacular new cable car system is finished. Although now living in the USA, he has retained a strong interest in infrastructure development in his native city of Lagos, Nigeria and is planning a trip back once the spectacular new cable car system is finished.