African digital infra firm WIOCC raises $200 mn, to launch data centres

 African digital infra firm WIOCC raises $200 mn, to launch data centres

WIOCC Holding Company Ltd has raised $200 million in debt and equity capital to expand digital connectivity within Africa and internationally, and to launch data centres in the continent.

The company secured the equity capital from CAPE IV, a fund managed by private equity fund manager African Capital Alliance (ACA), WIOCC said.

International Finance Corporation, Proparco and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, which is managed by Ninety One, provided the debt facility.

WIOCC, which has offices in South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria and Mauritius, said it will use part of the funding to support Open Access Data Centres (OADC), a newly created firm to launch data centres.

The centres to be set up in the first phase will house key submarine cable landings in Lagos, Durban and Mogadishu, supporting the drive to land international submarine capacity directly into carrier-neutral data centres.

The Lagos and Durban centres are under construction and will be launched in early 2022. The Mogadishu data centre will be ready before the end of 2022.

In the following phases, the company will set up more than 20 new data centres throughout the continent, focusing on major connectivity hubs in each country.

Established in 2007, WIOCC operates a communications platform that delivers critical services to its clients across 30 countries in Africa and many more globally. The platform comprises more than 75,000 km of terrestrial fibre interconnecting over 100 Points of Presence, and integrated with its investments in multiple subsea systems.

The company is one of the leading players in Africa’s wholesale connectivity market. It is responsible for more than 50% of capacity activated on the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System, a key undersea fibre-optic cable system connecting countries and consumers in Eastern and Southern Africa to the rest of the world.

“The inward investment and partnership with ACA will help us in enabling businesses and consumers in Africa to benefit from the digital economy and migration to cloud-based services,” said Chris Wood, CEO at WIOCC.

ACA partner Paul Kokoricha said that WIOCC is a fast-growing wholesale capacity provider in Africa that has “positive market fundamentals” given the rate at which internet penetration and over-the-top services are growing.

Verdant Capital acted as the financial advisor to WIOCC for the equity capital raise.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest