14 June 2023
WIOCC Group has brought in experienced senior connectivity and data services professional Mohammed Bouhelal to establish its presence in the DRC – an important new market for the company, with the potential to become one of the fastest-growing digital economies on the African continent.
Bouhelal will work with major enterprises in DRC, particularly within the banking, insurance and financial services sectors - as well as international and local carriers, cloud operators, content providers, fixed-line and mobile telcos, and internet service providers (ISPs) - to help them take advantage of the wealth of opportunities presented by the country’s improving access to digital infrastructure and enhanced international connectivity.
“I want to establish WIOCC Group, the parent company of Africa’s digital hyperscale carrier WIOCC and the continent’s fastest-growing data centre company, Open Access Data Centres (OADC), as the leading enabler to the DRC’s digital transformation,” said Bouhelal, managing director of OADC DRC, a WIOCC Group Company. “Our unique converged, open-access digital infrastructure (CODI) offering - carrier-neutral, open-access data centre facilities connecting to resilient, hyperscale, open-access, subsea and terrestrial networks - and a rich, vibrant digital ecosystem will help boost the DRC’s economy and will expedite digital transformation in the country.”
WIOCC Group is building the DRC’s first open-access, carrier-neutral data centre, OADC Kinshasa, which will stimulate the county’s digital ecosystem and economy by delivering converged open digital infrastructure services, including tailored colocation and reliable connectivity, when it goes live later this year. Located in Kinshasa, within TEXAF’s Silkin Village - one of the largest digital hubs in Central Africa – the 2MW-capable OADC Kinshasa is a partnership between transformational pan-African data centre operator, OADC, and TEXAF, a major long-term investor in the DRC’s economy.
As the first third-party colocation data centre in the country, OADC Kinshasa is a strategic foundation for digital infrastructure improvement in the DRC, which the World Bank reported was one of the most under-developed digital economies in Africa. It will not only offer businesses a viable alternative to self-build and self-manage data centre facilities, with all the dedicated resource, expertise, management time and cost benefits that come with that, but also support the cloud infrastructure needs of a wide range of businesses and enterprises, enabling them to improve efficiency, expedite digitisation initiatives and more effectively service business and customer needs. Carriers too will benefit, because OADC Kinshasa offers them connectivity revenue opportunities and the opportunity to extend their service portfolios, by including a managed colocation service capability.
Within the open-access, carrier-neutral facility, WIOCC will create a unique and vibrant digital ecosystem – including international cloud operators, content providers, multiple carriers, and ISPs – that will transform the country’s digital infrastructure ecosystem. As the country’s first open access, carrier neutral data centre, OADC Kinshasa is expected to be influential in stimulating the country’s internet penetration growth, which was only 17.4% at the start of 2022, compared to 43% for Africa as a whole and 68.6% for the rest of the world.
The quality of the facility, which will be Tier-III Certified by the Uptime Institute, together with its vibrant interconnect ecosystem, will draw key cloud and content services into the DRC. Improved access to connectivity, cloud and internet services is expected to increase consumer use of online applications such as Facebook. In April 2022, only 5.4% of the DRC population subscribed to Facebook, compared to 18.6% for Africa as a whole and 38.1% for the rest of the world.