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US gov't invests Sh3.7 billion in new data center in Nairobi

US Ambassador Meg Whitman: Kenya is now the largest recipient of venture capital in the continent.

US Ambassador Meg Whitman with UK High Commissioner Jane Marriot during the groundbreaking of a new data centre in Nairobi

In a major move to support Africa's digital transformation, the United States government has announced Sh3.7 billion ($30 million) in funding for the expansion of the Africa Data Centers in Nairobi.

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The expansion, which will more than double the center's current capacity, is seen as a crucial step in securing Kenya's digital infrastructure.

The announcement was made on Thursday, January 19, 2023, by the US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, after commissioning the construction of a new data center.

"In 2021 the US government announced that we would provide $300 million in financing to Africa’s data centres through the US international development finance corporation. Today I could not be more delighted to announce that $30 million of support to Africa’s data centres will go in financing this new data centre," she said.

The Ambassador emphasized the importance of investing in digital infrastructure in Africa, stating that it is a key driver of economic growth and development.

"In Kenya, opportunities abound and investors are starting to recognise this. Kenya is now the largest recipient of venture capital when adjusted for GDP in the continent. And it is growing the fastest, driving Kenya’s tech revolution," the US diplomat added.

The expansion of the Africa Data Center will not only increase capacity but also improve the reliability and security of Kenya's digital infrastructure.

The additional funding will be used to purchase new equipment, hire additional staff, and upgrade the center's facilities.

The Africa Data Center is a major hub for data storage and processing in Kenya, serving both government and private sector clients.

The expansion will allow the center to accommodate more clients and provide a wider range of services.

The US Ambassador also highlighted the importance of collaboration between the United States and Kenya in the field of digital technology, stating that the funding for the expansion is part of a larger partnership to support Africa's digital transformation.

During the ground-breaking ceremony, Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres, said, “The expansion will enable Africa Data Centre clients to grow and scale depending on their requirements. They can start small, increase to a medium capacity, and even benefit from a hyperscale type of deployment in a few years if they choose to. This will enable customers to operate multiple deployments across our sites with a single operations team, campus, and infrastructure they are familiar with”.

On her part, UK High Commissioner Jane Marriot noted that Africa Data Centres supports businesses across Kenya, including over half the banking sector, and has received Sh27 billion in support from the UK since 2018.

Africa Data Centres says the new data centre will begin with 5MW of IT and will bring five times more than the current capacity.

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