By Foday Moriba Conteh
As part of their efforts in hosting third party infrastructure and data, providing large storage capacity for disaster recovery, and redundancy for Government, Non-Governmental Organizations as well as for private entities requiring such services in the country, one of the telecommunications service providers, Africell Sierra Leone with support from the United States of America has on Monday 23rd May 2022 turned the sod for the construction of the first Manor River Union State-of-the-Art Data Centre in Freetown.
The turning of the sod for the construction of the State-of-the-Art Data Centre, which will be located at Lumley Beach Road in Freetown, was done by the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa alongside the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Africell Group Ziad Dalloul.
The Data Center, when completed, will enable Africell to expand its data storage not only for the benefit of the company but for Government and Non-Governmental Organisations.
In his statement, the Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, Shadi Gerjawi, disclosed that the Data Center will serve as a disaster Recovery Centre for Africell, providing resilience and redundancy to their network for both voice and data.
He added that the Data Center will be dedicated to hosting third party infrastructure and data providing large storage capacity for disaster recovery and redundancy for Government, Non-Governmental Organisations, as well as for private entities requesting such services, furthering that it will host physical equipment, virtual service, and cloud based solutions as well as providing room to host a second submarine cable for Sierra Leone in the near future.
He pointed out that the state-of-the-art Data Centre will be at the core of the heartbeat of the Africell’s network in the country, stating that a new generation of Sierra Leonean mobile users, entrepreneurs, developers, and innovators will continue to have faster and reliable connectivity and better access to the outside world than ever before.
“It goes without saying that the investment we are making here today is long term and such an investment commitment is made easier in a stable and compelling business climate. As such, Africell will continue to count on the support of Government and our Regulator to provide a positive environment for investors – an environment with a predictable and clear roadmap for the sector, and business community as a whole,” he revealed.
The Counsellor for Commercial and Economic Affairs in the Commercial and Economic Sector of the Embassy of the United States in Freetown, Frisco McDonald, described the Data Center as crucial for economic development maintaining that it will also play a key role for enhancing security. He said they are very pleased to support Africell to develop such a Center.
Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, said President Julius Maada is determined to ensure Sierra Leone is not left out on the Fourth Industrial Revolution disclosing how the Head of State passionately believes Digital Transformation could help in addressing governance and societal challenges.
“Under the New Direction the private sector is thriving, expanding on their investments, as a result of Government’s conducive business environment,” he pointed out.
The Chairman of NATCOM Board, Ambassador Joe C Blell applauded Africell Sierra Leone in the company’s drive to improve the country’s ICT sector.
He said for the past seventeen years Sierra Leoneans have been relating to Africell underscoring that Africell is always compliant with rules and regulations.
Ambassador Peter Farm spoke on behalf of Africell Group Board.
The event was graced by personalities from the public and private sectors as well as by people from different walks of life as well as Africell subscribers.
Launching the Data Center, the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa said that the construction of the Data Center is in line with the President’s vision to enhance decentralization in the country.
He informed all that Sierra Leone has trend from 2G to 4G++ and disclosed that voice connectivity is over 80% in the country.
According to the Chief Minister, the State-of-the-Art Data Centre, when completed, will not only serve Africell subscribers but a very useful source for economic analysis adding that it is a significant event. Africell has proven to be a development partner.
He maintained that the Data Centre, which will enhance storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data in the country will definitely give a new facelift in terms of internet connectivity in the country. On behalf of the Government he assured the company of their continuous support.
Climaxing the event was a video show of the proposed Data Center which was followed by the official turning of the sod for the commencement of the construction of the State-of-the-Art Data Centre by the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Africell Group Ziad Dalloul.