Economy Technology

Why an $89 Million Cloud Project Matters for Angola

Angola is taking a big step in its digital transformation journey. The government recently announced a new $89 million project to construct a unified national cloud that offers several services.

The project includes building two data centres and updating an existing centre, which will be linked by a fibre optic ring. Once completed by Q1 2024, the centres will provide high-speed internet connectivity to all government departments and help unify data from all ministerial departments.

The goal of this project is to transfer all data centre silos from different ministerial departments into a single unified location. This will make all of the data safe and easily accessible. According to André Pedro, the director of the National Institute for the Promotion of the Information Society (INFOSI), the project will also offer a secure environment for citizens’ data and increase the availability of electronic services.

One side effect of this move is that INFOSI will no longer issue the .ao domain for users once the project is completed. Instead, it will issue licences to companies for that purpose.

This project is crucial because any company or organisation that depends on technology needs data centres to function optimally. Even if you don’t run a tech-enabled business, a data centre could impact the success of your bank transfers or the clarity and smoothness of your YouTube or Netflix shows.

Africa has the lowest number of data centres per Internet user in the world, and it only has 86 collocation data centres across 15 countries. In contrast, North America has 2031 across three countries. Since 2016, more companies have been building data centres, and this has been largely fuelled by US-based big-tech giants.

Governments need to ensure confidential data doesn’t get outside the country’s borders. Therefore, they are more concerned about data sovereignty. Since 2022, we’ve been aware of two data centre launches by the Nigerian government. One with Lagos state amidst its smart city initiative, and the other by the federal government in Kano State.

Angola’s national cloud project is unique since the country has been knee-deep in state-owned technology services. For two decades, the country’s telecom sector has been a de-facto monopoly until Unitel’s resurgence and Africell’s launch in 2022.

The country launched its second satellite, the Angosat 2, in October 2022 to improve nationwide broadband services and undergo earth observation. By February 2023, the authorities also announced the inauguration of the North Submarine Cable System, which will extend its national fibre project to all provinces within the country.

Source : Ventures Africa