Airtel Africa to launch data centre in Kenya

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February 15, 2024
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5 min read
Airtel Africa
Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/27998473@N02/11982286343/">jbdodane</a> Flickr via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

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Sawubona,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Airtel Africa to launch data centre in Kenya
  • Carbon acquires Vella Finance
  • Roam gets $24 million

 Airtel Africa to launch data centre in Kenya 

Airtel Africa
Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/27998473@N02/11982286343/">jbdodane</a> Flickr via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

Airtel Africa's been making headlines lately, and here's the latest news: The telco plans to open a new data centre in Nairobi, its second in Africa after Nigeria.

The plan? To diversify its revenue streams. It’s eyeing a 7-megawatt capacity centre in Kenya, following in the footsteps of its 36-megawatt facility in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya, construction is expected to begin in Nigeria shortly and finish in Kenya by the middle of 2026. He describes these data centres as critical assets in their portfolio, emphasising their commercial viability.

Airtel's strategy involves shifting its focus from traditional telecommunications and mobile money to data services. It wants to lower data management expenses and improve digital service accessibility by building local data centres. This move will encourage innovation and help Africa's budding tech talent.

Airtel Africa, which launched Nxtra, its data hub business, in December 2023, plans to establish smaller data centres for its mobile cable landing stations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gabon, in addition to Lagos and Nairobi.

Meanwhile, the telco says it has increased its presence in Kenya by investing in voice and mobile money services. In February 2023, the company announced plans to launch 5G in Kenya. Its network infrastructure spans 3,200 sites, serving 89% of Kenya's 47 counties.

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Carbon acquires Vella Finance

An image that depicts carbon's acquisition of vella finance
Carbon acquires Vella Finance.

Nigerian digital bank Carbon has acquired a fintech startup, Vella Finance. Word on the street is that Vella Finance helps small businesses, and Carbon wants in on that action.

While Carbon is keeping the price tag hush-hush, Vella Finance is getting a rebrand as Carbon Business.

Carbon has set its sights on Vella Finance's AI-powered SME banking feature that helps users get actionable insights from financial transactions. It reckons it'll give it an edge in the market.

Moreover, some of the Vella Finance team is joining Carbon. Additionally, Vella Finance is shifting all 8,000 of its SME clients to Carbon Business. Individual customers can choose to upgrade to business accounts.

However, Vella Finance isn't losing its mojo. The company plans to keep delivering, just under the Carbon banner.

Turns out, Vella Finance has been on quite the journey since it kicked off back in 2021. It began with cross-border payments, then dabbled in cryptocurrency, and is now all about AI-powered banking. Carbon is hoping to ride that wave with its new Carbon Business launch. 

 Roam gets $24 million

Roam

Roam, an EV startup, has raised a $24 million Series A round to expand electric motorcycles and buses in Africa.

The US International Development Finance Corporation chipped up to $10 million in debt. Equator led the $14 million equity round, and other backers in this round include At One Ventures, TES Ventures, Renew Capital, The World We Want, and One Small Planet.

Roam's pushing hard on its Move bus model, introduced last year. It has set up a motorcycle assembly plant and plans to produce 1,000 motorcycles per month.

What's cool about Roam's motorcycles? Because of its hybrid solution, users can charge at home or at Roam's swap stations.

The Move buses, with a monthly capacity of 40, are intended for local use and have features such as high-ground clearance. Perfect for schools and public transit!

Roam is not stopping there. It’s investing in research and tooling to own more of its designs. Albin Wilson, Roam's Chief Product and Strategy Officer, explains that reducing reliance on suppliers will result in lower costs and more affordable products in the long run.

This fund injection is consistent with a broader trend in Africa's EV market. Despite challenges like weak electricity grids and high acquisition costs, startups like BasiGo and Ampersand are making waves.

BasiGo is introducing electric mass transport buses in Nairobi, while Ampersand in Rwanda focuses on electric motorcycle batteries and swapping stations.

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching

Opportunities   

  • Selar launches Selar Tuition Funds, offering  ₦100,000 to 50 final year Nigerian students to ease education costs. Additionally, internship opportunities will be provided to enhance their career growth. Apply by February 21, 2024,  here.
  • Kenyan startups focused on embedded finance, future fintech, SME productivity tools, and content like local gaming and mobile advertising can apply for Safaricom’s Spark Accelerator programme. For more information, check this out.
  • The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is looking for an editor to support the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. Apply here.
  • Application for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Class of 2025 is now open. Check out the one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship here before March 18, 2023.
  • Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a fabulous Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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