PAIX Ghana launch 25 September 2019
Speech Ambassador Ron Strikker
International Data Cloud Conference, Accra, 26 September 2019
The Netherlands and Ghana as digital gateway countries
Digitalization impacts the daily life of citizens in every country more and more. I still remember my first computer with a 28 kilobyte dial-up modem. If I wanted to download 1 gigabyte of data, it would take me 3 days 10 hours 51 minutes 1 second to do so.
Fortunately I will not have to wait 3 days to watch my favorite Netflix series anymore, as data transfer speeds have increased at exponentially. With increased digitalization and faster internet, there is an increasing demand for data. Today’s world is becoming more and more data-dependent every day to communicate, to work, to study and to relax.
The global growth numbers are staggering with 90% of all global data having been created over the past two years. And demand is still increasing, whether it is in Europe, Asia or Africa.
The Netherlands currently hosts 189 data centres of various sizes: from so-called smaller edge data centres to very large hyperscale data centres. Amsterdam has the largest agglomeration of data centres in Europe and is in terms of capacity larger than London, Frankfurt or
Paris. Over the years, The Netherlands has benefited of this success and has been able to host the European head offices of tech giants such as Booking.com, Adyen and Cisco and many others.
But also in Africa a lot is changing. Internet and smartphone data usage is growing fast, and so are the number of innovative applications. One example of new technological possibilities with mobile money is M-Pesa, a mobile payment platform developed in Kenya and now used for consumer payments in over 7 other African countries.
And I can see the change daily in Ghana too. I can use Jumia Foods, MTN mobile money, UBER and many other applications that were not there a few years ago. For example, using Uber to order a taxi here in Accra, my user data travels all the way back to Uber’s services that are situated on Uber’s servers abroad. The 10,000 KM round way distance this user data has to travel is also referred to as ‘latency’. In order to reduce the latency, having local data storage and servers located in independent local colocation data centres in the region, greatly improves the quality of the apps and of user experience.
The Netherlands and Ghana share very similar characteristics in digital growth potential and internet connectivity. Both countries serve as digital gateways to their respective continents. The Netherlands has used its geographic location in attracting landing points of submarine cable connections and foreign investment to expand its digital data infrastructure. Ghana has the potential and has already started to become West-Africa’s digital gateway, but will need infrastructural development to solidify this position. And it will need international cooperation.
The Datacloud Africa Summit itself is a fantastic initiative for promoting international cooperation. Similarly, the development of Pan African data centre companies such as PAIX Data Centres and founding of the Africa Data Center Association (ADCA) in 2018 have been an important steps in promoting Africa’s data centre industry and foster regional integration.
<optional> The African submarine cables with Google’s Equiano project for West Africa and Facebook’s submarine cable Simba for East Africa are important initiatives for increasing Africa’s connectivity. Interconnecting countries through submarine and terrestrial cables will be a key step for the further development of Africa’s digital infrastructure.
For this reason, the Dutch government is strongly supportive of promoting local data centre infrastructure and has provided a development loan to the Ghanaian company RackAfrica / PAIX Ghana as Ghana’s first carrier neutral data centre. I often use the slogan of The Netherlands and Ghana growing together. On this occasion it is not only that, but also The Netherlands and Ghana – connecting together!
Thank you for your kind attention.
Speech PAIX CEO Wouter van Hulten
Welcome to PAIX, meaning “Peace” and “Peace of Mind”
Dear Mr. Ambassador, Guests, Partners, Supports, Colleagues,
Old Friends, New Friends,
Thank you for joining us tonight in the celebration of the Digital Economy on the African continent, and the launch of the PAIX Data Centre brand in Ghana.
Our business is all about making connections, and that’s what we celebrate tonight, ahead of a conference that will be an opportunity to discuss and share insights.
I am happy to see so many people who we have met in the recent years, as we got started on the African continent.
Please allow me to thank a few people, especially:
- all of our customers!
- the few people here tonight who were already in this industry in 2000, when we founded one of the world’s first carrier neutral datacentre companies in Europe,
- my friend and local director of PAIX Ghana, Tony Abakisi,
- the PAIX Data Centres team in Ghana, who have been building Ghana’s digital infrastructure since 2011,
- and our investors, including the Dutch Good Growth Fund, who are providing financing to develop our business.
Thank you all for coming and making this evening possible.
A few words about Africa’s data centre market, and the digital economy.
Telecom liberalization is the key.
The growth in submarine cable network capacity connecting to Africa is bringing about new opportunities, as the telecommunications markets continue to open up and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs to participate in the Digital Economy.
Since 2008, this development has gone rapidly. Today, the number Ghanaian’s with smart phones is incredible. Drive around town and it seems everyone is online.
Information is bringing the opportunity to learn, earn, and enjoy.
What a revolution is going on. How different this was, not so long ago:
Just 10 years ago, this continent was connected with satellite dishes to the rest of the world.
30 years ago, the first fax machines were introduced.
And 40 years ago, when I was growing up in Bamako, Mali, we would send a telex to Europe to communicate with family.
The opportunity to further develop this industry underpinning the Digital Economy lies ahead of us.
PAIX is the Pan African Internet Exchange Data Centres company. Abbreviated to “PAIX”. Which mean “Peace” in French. And for our customers, it is “Peace of Mind”.
Along with a number of our industry colleagues, PAIX is bringing world class datacentre know-how to the African continent.
We invested in Rack Africa last year. And now, after a 6 months renovation and expansion of the RackAfrica datacentre, we are announcing PAIX in Ghana.
The facility now offers world class technology and, just as important, operating procedures. Our customers our now connected to redundant power, multiple carriers and 24×7 security.
Going forward, we look forward to working with you, our clients, partners, suppliers, regulators, experts, to further develop this industry.
For this, we have last year joined a number of other companies to create the African Data Centre Association. Should you not yet have joined as a member of the association, please speak with us and we glad to welcome you.
Recalling the African proverb, never stated to often: If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together. Let’s walk far.
Enjoy this evening. With thanks to The Heineken Company for bringing some cool refreshments.
Please join me in thanking the Dutch ambassador Mr. Ron Strikker and his team for hosting us this evening.