Business and Economy

Airtel starts construction of its 38MW data centre in Lagos

Airtel Africa and its Nxtra subsidiary have officially commenced the construction of their inaugural data center in Lagos, Nigeria. The groundbreaking event for the new data center, located on Victoria Island in Lagos, was led by Airtel Africa’s outgoing Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya, and his successor, Sunil Taldar. Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, was also in attendance.

Airtel Africa emphasized in a statement that this initiative highlights their dedication to fulfilling the data management requirements of the continent by offering reliable and sustainable data center capacity to support the rapidly expanding African digital economy.

During the ceremony, Ogunsanya expressed that the Nxtra project signifies a significant achievement in the company’s progression and serves as a fundamental element of their growth strategy, with a specific emphasis on Nigeria, their largest market.

“We firmly believe that the establishment of NXtra Data Centers will enhance data sovereignty, security, and preservation within the continent, showcasing our commitment to positioning Nigeria as a key hub for digital service accessibility as we drive Africa towards a sustainable and inclusive digital era,” he stated.

Mr. Ogunsanya further mentioned that the project will generate more than 1000 employment opportunities. Moreover, once operational and fully utilized, it will generate over 250 permanent jobs for Nigerians while aiding businesses in sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare as they transition their data and computing operations to third-party data centers like theirs.

“In the end, it is imperative to store data and content in close proximity to where it is being utilized,” he concluded.

The Airtel Africa data centre in Lagos, known as Nxtra, is set to provide a total power capacity of 38 megawatts and will incorporate high-density racks designed with the latest construction practices to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.3. It is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2026.

This facility in Lagos will be the first of five hyperscale data centres that Airtel Africa plans to develop across the continent. Together, these data centres will offer a robust capacity of 180 megawatts, spread across 13 major data centres and over 48 edge data centres. With Airtel Africa’s extensive fibre network, Nxtra will provide secure and scalable integrated solutions to global hyper-scalers, large African enterprises, startups, SMEs, and governments.

By leveraging the locally available data centre capacity, the speed of accessing digital services will improve, and the cost of managing data will be reduced. This will drive increased innovation and support the growth of a new generation of African tech talent. Additionally, Nxtra will enable customers to meet data sovereignty requirements while also facilitating the provision of more local cloud services in the countries where Airtel Africa operates.

Dr. Bosun Tijani praised the transformative opportunities that lie ahead for businesses and the economy in a future driven by connectivity through data centres like Nxtra and powered by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). He emphasized the importance of data as a key driver in the economy and highlighted the need to not only connect people but also invest in the digital economy. Thanks to investments made by companies like Airtel, the African economy is well-positioned to fully participate in the digital revolution.

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