US data centre operator Equinix is to invest $390m in building new data centres in South Africa and western Africa, Bloomberg reported.

The data centres will be built over the next five years and will help Equinix expand its current data operations on the continent.

“We will continue to invest where it makes sense on the continent, and we are undergoing a number of studies to ascertain these opportunities,” said Sandile Dube, managing director for South Africa at Equinix. “The money planned for investment includes the construction of data centres at our current operations but excludes plans for additional markets.”

The move comes after several data centre providers have stepped up competition in the Africa region. In November last year, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Khazna Data Center partnered with Benya Group to build the first hyper-scale data centre in Egypt.

The investment, valued at more than $250m (Dh918.13m), will support artificial intelligence development in the UAE and the wider region, according to company officials from Khazna.

“We are thrilled to mark this occasion with the signing of the Shareholders Agreement with Benya Group as we prepare to break ground on the first hyper-scale data centre in Egypt,” said Hassan Alnaqbi, CEO of Khazna Data Centers, at the time.

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Data centres help store computing machines and other related hardware equipment. Last year, according to GlobalData’s FDI Database, the leading market destination for data centres in the world was India, which between January 2019 and September 2023 recorded 145 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in cloud and data infrastructure.

South Africa came third with 126 projects, below Germany (136).