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UAE to build 1,000 MW data centres in Kenya

UAE investment ministry
An investment memorandum signed by Eliud Owalo, cabinet secretary at the ministry of information, communications and the digital economy in Kenya and Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, minister of Investment of the UAE

The UAE plans to build data centre projects with a total capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts in Kenya to promote the “digital corridor” concept with the East African nation.

The UAE’s investment ministry and Kenya’s ministry of information, communications and digital economy have signed a pact to set up a framework for investment cooperation in the field of digitalisation and technology.

The two nations will also explore investments in Kenya’s digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI) services, including the potential of large language models.

Kenya’s digital economy has expanded by 23 percent annually during the last decade, outperforming other sectors.

The largest economy in East Africa is becoming a preferred investment destination for data centre providers, driven by the growing demand for cloud services amid improved business conditions.

The local data centre market is predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 11.22 percent between 2023 and 2028.

The “digital corridor” concept aims to provide an interconnected network infrastructure enabling secure data exchange, hosting, processing and transmission between the UAE and Kenya.

“Through targeted investments in digital infrastructure and AI, this investment memorandum is set to accelerate the development of a sector that has the potential to become a growth driver for other industries,” UAE’s investment minister Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi said.

The UAE and Kenya finalised a comprehensive economic partnership agreement last month. Bilateral non-oil trade reached $3.1 billion in 2023, up 26.4 percent year on year.

Last month Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence company G42 said it will develop a one-gigawatt data centre in Kenya powered by geothermal energy.

The new facility, developed in partnership with Kenya’s EcoCloud, will boost cloud computing and AI services.

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