JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with South African firm Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand data center capacity and deploy fiber optic cables across the continent, the groups announced Monday in a joint statement.

The tie-up with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, formerly Liquid Telecom, aims to increase digital connectivity in Africa and support the region’s growing digital ecosystem, the partners said.

Investing in data centers underscores the growing demand for cloud services, even in relatively undeveloped corners of the continent.

US tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon are already competing with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to build massive data centers on the continent as demand for cloud connectivity skyrockets as businesses save money. huge costs by renting storage space rather than building their own servers.

IFC’s equity and debt investments in Liquid, which to date amount to approximately $ 250 million, will help the company increase the capacity of its large-scale data centers in Egypt, Kenya, in Nigeria and South Africa through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centers, according to the statement. .

“As Africa’s population grows and is increasingly urbanized, data consumption is expected to increase sharply and with this comes the need for secure local data hosting,” they added.

The investments will also support the continued deployment of Liquid’s fiber broadband network, which today covers more than 100,000 kilometers in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, sub-Saharan Africa needs around $ 100 billion in investment to achieve affordable, high-quality broadband access by 2030. It would take at least 250,000 kilometers new fiber lines to achieve this.

IFC’s latest investment in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February 2021 via Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The show raised $ 620 million.

(This story is passed on to make it clear that IFC is part of the “World Bank Group” in the title and 1st paragraph)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; ​​Editing by Toby Chopra)

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