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Angola’s newest telco opens data centre built with Dell and Oracle

Company closed between May and June over US$200 million to support operations expansion not only in the country but across Africa.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

5 Mins

October 22, 2021 | 11:04 AM BST

Angola’s newest telco opens data centre built with Dell and Oracle

Africell Group's Chairman and CEO, Ziad Dalloul, opens Africell's new data center in Luanda with the help of Matias Borges, Angola's National Director for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, and Nina Maria Fite, US Ambassador to Angola. Source: Africell

Pan-African telecommunications business Africell has opened a data centre in Luanda, Angola, as the operator readies to launch its services in the country.

The company said the Africell Angola facility, located at Africell Angola’s headquarters in the Kings Tower building in central Luanda, results from a “substantial financial investment” that has not been disclosed.

Africell said the centre will become the cornerstone of its network in Angola, providing a platform for a digital ecosystem for mobile users, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The facility was opened by Africell Group’s Chairman and CEO, Ziad Dalloul, Matias Borges, Angola’s National Director for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, and Nina Maria Fite, US Ambassador to Angola.

Christopher Lundh, CEO of Africell Angola, said: “We want to lead a digital transformation. Africell is investing in technology that will provide Angola with faster, more affordable and more reliable digital connectivity than it has had before.

“Africell’s new data centre has unique technological features having been designed in collaboration with world-renowned technology partners and built to the highest standards of efficiency, performance and resilience. We are proud to present it today because it brings to life our digital vision for Angola and sets the tone for the future of our network.”

International technology brands supplying infrastructure include HP, Nokia, Dell and Oracle. Local partners such as CPC Africa, Jembas and Prosecurity have also been involved in the design, construction and implementation of the project.

Angola’s General Tax Administration (AGT) was involved in the project clearing equipment as shipments came into the country and the National Social Security Institute (INSS) collaborated on the physical installation of the data centre.

Ziad Dalloul, Chairman and CEO of Africell Group, added: “I am very pleased with the progress of our operation here in Angola.

“The strong foundations we are laying today, in terms of recruitment, investment and planning, will benefit our customers when we officially launch mobile network services in Angola.”

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Africell is in the process of also completing the first phase of the rollout of a high-speed 5G-enabled mobile network in Angola.

The company has entered into a number of technology partnerships with international and local companies (including Nokia, Oracle, Aviat, Angola Cables, MST Telecom, Angola Telecom, TPA, and Infrasat) and others are in the final stages.

Africell Angola has over a hundred employees and launched operations this year.

The Africell Group was launched in 2001 in Gambia, and has since expanded into Sierra Leona in 2005, the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012, and Uganda in 2015.

Although, Uganda operations have been shut down on October 7, 2021, after “a careful assessment of the long-term commercial outlook for the business and its fit within the overall group strategy of driving digital transformation in the communities it serves” was carried out.

Last June, the company successfully closed a US$105 million loan facility to support its expansion plans across the continent.

The loan has been syndicated to a group of blue-chip international financial institutions. The syndicate consists of a mix of new and existing lenders to Africell.

The facility was structured and anchored by Gemcorp Capital, with Gramercy Funds Management LLC, TC Credit Partners LLC and funds advised by Helios Investment Partners also joining the syndicate.

In May 2021, Africell amended and restated a $100 million investment from the US Government’s Development Finance Corporation (DFC) which was first signed in May 2019.

CEO Dalloul said: “The commercial loan agreement represents a renewed long-term commitment between us and a group of outstanding strategic financing partners. The syndicate is composed of world-class financial institutions with an impressive history of investing in emerging markets.

“The commercial loan facility gives Africell Group the flexibility and firepower we need to achieve our commercial objectives in Africa, and we are excited to continue to pursue growth both in our existing markets and in Angola.”

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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