Congo to Build Central Africa’s First National Data Centre with £57m Investment
May 20, 2024
Michael Isaac
3 minute(s) Read
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In a significant milestone, the Republic of the Congo has unveiled a state-of-the-art National Data Centre in Brazzaville's Bacongo district. Financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), this cutting-edge facility will store and process the country's digital data, cementing its digital sovereignty.

The project includes the installation of 600 kilometres of fibre optic cable connecting major routes with Cameroon (341 km) and the Central African Republic (281 km) via the Congo River. Michel Ngakala, coordinator of the Central Africa Fibre-Optic Backbone project, highlighted that Congo will soon be the only country in Central Africa with its own data centre. This will eliminate the need for data to travel through servers in Europe, America, or elsewhere, streamlining operations such as videoconferencing.

Michel Ngakala, Project Coordinator

The total cost of the fibre project is €66.55 million (£57 million), with €52.47 million (£45 million) provided by the African Development Bank and €14.50 million (£12 million) by the government of Congo. Of the total budget, €13.8 million (£12 million) is allocated for the construction and operation of the data centre.

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The three-storey data centre will include server rooms, monitoring and supervision rooms, meeting and conference rooms, and spaces for energy and air-conditioning equipment. The facility is expected to be operational by December 2024 and will be managed by a delegate, either public or private, responsible for marketing and maintaining the infrastructure.

Significance for Congo

Ngakala emphasised the importance of the project for Congo’s digital sovereignty, stating,

"We cannot claim to be sovereign when our data, even the most sensitive data, is stored outside our territory, in foreign countries, with real risks of misuse, violation or massive leaks.”

He noted that currently, Congo's data is stored abroad, often under domain names ending in “.fr” or “.com” instead of Congo’s “.cg”. The new data centre will allow Congo to host public data as well as data from telecom operators, banks, insurance companies, and other private firms, providing local backup solutions.

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Ngakala believes this initiative will enhance Congo's digital security by allowing greater control over data processing and access within the country. He also highlighted the project's potential to boost Congo’s digital economy, citing the Postal and Telecommunications Ministry’s digital identification project, which will generate substantial data to be stored locally.

Broader Impact and AfDB’s Role

Sié Antoine-Marie Tioyé, the African Development Bank’s country economist in Congo, added that the project will improve Congo’s economic competitiveness by reducing communication costs, a crucial factor in economic development.

Sié Antoine-Marie Tioyé

The African Development Bank Group is Congo’s primary infrastructure financing partner. In addition to the fibre-optic cable and data centre project, the Bank has funded several road infrastructure projects in the country. As of April 2024, the Bank's active portfolio in Congo includes 11 public sector projects totalling £328 million, covering transport (32.7%), governance (29.8%), agriculture (21.3%), telecommunications (13.7%), social sectors (2.4%), and water and sanitation (0.1%).

Notable projects include the construction of the Ketta-Djoum Road on the Yaoundé-Brazzaville corridor, involving a 505-kilometre asphalt road between Ketta in Congo and Djoum in Cameroon, and the initial section of the Ndende-Dolisie road linking Congo and Gabon. The Bank also financed studies for access roads to the road-rail bridge that will connect the two Congos across the Congo River.

May 20, 2024
Michael Isaac
3 minute(s) Read
Congo Data Centre
African Development Bank

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