MDXi, West Africa’s leading commercial data center provider has received Tier III Certification on the Design Documents of its new Appolonia Data Center from Uptime Institute, The Global Data Center Certifying Authority.
The 104-rack facility extends MainOne’s MDXi’s footprint into Ghana to deliver best-in-class data center uptime and operational performance to meet the rapidly growing demand for Colocation, Managed Hosting and Cloud services in Ghana. The facility will be built and operated with the same operational standards currently in place at MDXi’s premier Data Center in Lagos, Nigeria which is certified to both the Tier Certification of Design Documents (TCDD) and Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).
Speaking on the award, Mr. Gbenga Adegbiji, Chief Operating Officer, MDXi stated “The Appolonia Data Center has been designed to meet rigorous standards in order to deliver highly secure and reliable infrastructure with multiple layers of redundancy on all critical electrical and mechanical components. This guarantees continuous access/uptime to hosted critical applications and data, improving the overall operational efficiency and profitability of our customers. We have engaged leading MEP and EPC contractors, Sterling & Wilson who are handling the modular mechanical and electrical units, while a team of local partners led by Incept Architectural Consults (IAC) are responsible for the civil, structural, construction and site works.
Emmanuel Kwarteng, the Acting Country Manager, of MainOne Ghana, announced that the Appolonia data center further consolidates the company’s investment in infrastructure to enable West Africa’s Digital Economy. He noted that the data center will provide the required infrastructural support for the digital transformation of businesses in Ghana without having to invest scarce Capital and Human resources to build their own infrastructure, thus improving business efficiency and profitability.
In his words, it is important that we have available the infrastructure required to establish, enhance and sustain effective business performance in today’s global digital economy. Outsourcing of Data Center and Connectivity services to a reputable provider like MDXi ensures businesses can adopt more cost-effective models of consuming technology to allow increased focus of valuable company resources to drive business development and growth.
Speaking on the certification of the Appolonia Data Center design documents, Uptime Institute Chief Technology Officer, Christopher Brown said “We commend MDXi on the award of the Tier III Certification of Design documents for the Appolonia Data Center in Ghana. The certification clearly demonstrates MDXi’s commitment to its customers and unwavering focus on not only designing but building a world class facility that meets the most demanding requirements. This is indeed a significant step in the Tier Classification process, and we look forward to working with them in achieving other certification milestones.”
Last month, MainOne announced the successful completion of the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for the modular unit for the Appolonia Data Center as all prefabricated and pre-integrated components comply with specification and are operational as designed. The modular units will be shipped to Ghana this month for installation and final integration.
MainOne Invests $400m Across West Africa In 10Yrs
…Celebrates a decade of digital revolution
BY LINDA JACOBS, Lagos, Nigeria
MainOne, West Africa’s leading provider of wholesale and enterprise connectivity and data centre services said it has invested over $400 million celebrates as it reminisces over its first 10 years of delivering innovative, world-class service.
Ten years ago, the company launched its operations with the commissioning of the first private submarine cable on the West Coast of Africa. The company has played a critical role in enabling internet access across West Africa where penetration rates have grown from less than 10 per cent in 2010 to close to 40 per cent ten years later.
Since inception, MainOne has invested over $400m in infrastructure in West Africa as part of its efforts to bridge the digital divide and enable the digital economy. The investments include submarine cables, terrestrial fiber networks, and Points of Presence (POPs) across the region.
Within this period, the company has delivered services to 10 West African countries and has built Tier III data centre in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire hosting the largest institutions and global content in the region, with on-going expansions of its data center footprint in Nigeria and Ghana.
Reflecting on 10 years in business, Ms. Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, said “We started on this journey to deploy critical infrastructure to bridge the digital divide in West Africa. While we are pleased that we have made an impact, there is so much more work to be done.
“The recent challenges we have faced with COVID-19 Pandemic highlight the need for additional investment and smarter policies to deploy shared infrastructure required to make access to broadband a reality for more Africans at a price they can afford. MainOne has been leading that charge across West Africa for ten years and we are even more committed to realizing our vision today than we were 10 years ago”.
“While it is an accomplishment for any company to reach the 10-year milestone, it is particularly significant for us as we hold on to our vision which is to be West Africa’s communication solutions provider of choice. Through the commitment of our shareholders, hard work and dedication of our employees, and collaboration with partners, we have been able to deliver services that balance innovative solutions with excellent service delivery.
“I thank our valued customers for the opportunity to be of service and remain grateful to our board members and shareholders for their faith in us. Many thanks also to our devoted employees and partners who have enabled us grow and thrive. We are confident that we will witness continued growth over the next ten years as we continue to provide excellent services to our clients and enable businesses and the digital economy across the region,” Opeke added.
These investments and contributions to the economy have led the company to numerous awards on both local and global stages. Prominent of these awards are the Datacloud Africa Award for Excellence in Data Center (Africa) and Africa Cloud Service Provider of the Year, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Impact Award, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Award for Excellence in Broadband Infrastructure, NTITA Telecoms Wholesale Provider of the Year, Frost & Sullivan Best Practices winner for the Nigerian Data Center Customer Value Leaderships Award, Ghana Telecoms Awards: Telecom Wholesale Carrier of the Year and Nigerian Telecoms Awards: Broadband Company of the Year, among others.
NIN is the Only Valid Means of ID by Law – NIMC DG
As the issue of digital identity takes centre stage in Nigeria, the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz, fielded questions from journalists on the journey so far in enrolling Nigerians and issuing the National Identification Number (NIN), and the way forward. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the renewal of your tenure for a second term of four years. What is your agenda and areas of focus for your second tenure?
The mandate of NIMC hasn’t changed and my focus remains to ensure that every person is enrolled and issued a unique national identification Number (NIN) also known as a digital identity. We have a population of about 200 million and the commission’s target is to register all within the next 3-5 years.
Whilst pursuing this target, the commission would also work to expand, extend and strengthen the infrastructure that is enabling the enrolment and identity authentication to happen.
What specific achievements did you record and challenges faced during your first tenure? What plans do you have to record more achievements and address those challenges you encountered?
One of our greatest achievements was increasing the enrolment figures from 7 million in 2015 to 39 million by the end 2019. As at today, we have reached 41 million records by sheer determination and hard work. I owe all of this to the great staff of NIMC who pushed themselves beyond their limits to see this happen.
The challenges we are facing are still the same challenges the Commission has been facing for years. Power issues at our Enrolment Centres (ERCs), Sensitisation and awareness to the general public, inadequate enrolment centres and enrolment devices, maintenance and support of our IT infrastructure, consumables etc.
All of these issues affect our operations and require a lot of funding to address. We will continue to do our best to address them in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, Government and with the help of the media.
How prepared are government and NIMC to meet the demand for enrolment for the National Identification Number nationwide?
Government and NIMC have made significant stride to scale up enrolment for the issuance of NIN. In September 2018, The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a strategic roadmap for accelerating the development of digital identity in Nigeria using the ecosystem approach (leveraging the capabilities and facilities of public and private sectors to speed up enrolment).
Government has also got commitment and approval from three development partners – the World Bank, Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and the European Union (EU) – to fund the roadmap implementation in the tune of $433 million.
You can obtain a copy of the roadmap on the NIMC website. The project preparation is currently ongoing and full implementation was originally scheduled to kick start by June 2020, but with the COVID 19 pandemic, we may extend to September or December this year. Our target is to have at least 4000 enrolment centres across the nation: one enrolment centre per 50,000 people.
What is your advice to Nigerians on enrolling for the NIN?
The Federal Government has approved NIN as the only valid means of identification for government services by Law. As a foundational ID, everyone must register and obtain a NIN. Kindly do so to avoid any restrictions on use or access to government services in the future. The process takes less than 10 minutes and can be further reduced if you pre-enrol online. Visit www.nimc.gov.ng for more details on enrolment. The law provides punitive measures for those who fail to comply with or disregard the law.
NIMC is collaborating with a number of government institutions including JAMB and other examination bodies, which are making the NIN a prerequisite for registration for their respective examinations. What plans do you have in place to enrol eligible and intending candidates in time for those examinations?
With NIN as the valid means of ID for government services, it is the responsibility of every individual on the soil of Nigeria or of Nigerian descent to register and obtain the unique ID. Enrolment commenced since the year 2012, which is 8 years ago; and the NIN is issued instantly upon complete registration. Eight years is enough time for people to present themselves for registration in accordance with the NIMC Act.
We should not always wait for the last minute or for government to resort to aggressive enforcement and punitive measures for people to do the right things. NIN is issued free of charge and to everyone, children and adult alike. Do not wait to be told you cannot transact or access service to register.
You recently raised concern about poor funding of NIMC programmes by the Federal Government. Has the funding situation improved, given the apparent increased pressure on NIMC to enrol Nigerians for the NIN?
NIMC through the Federal Government has obtained funding to accelerate digital identity enrolment within the next 3-5 years. The funding covers digital ID enrolment, issuance and usage; strengthening the enabling law, security, privacy, data protection and cybersecurity mechanisms; as well as strengthening the IT and other backend infrastructure. There is still need for funding on the card aspect of the programme as well as on the other regulatory functions of the commission. We are consulting with the Federal Government on these aspects.
What will you say is the rationale behind the Federal Government making the NIN compulsory for government services?
The NIMC Act of 2007 which is the legal framework on which the Commission is operating stipulated that the National Identification Number is a unique identifier for all citizens and legal residents; and must be presented and verified to confirm your identity before other functional agencies can provide service.
This is the law and Government is simply reminding us to comply and working to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of the law. It is not a new thing or new policy. Please feel free to read the NIMC Act and in particular sections 26, 27, 28 etc.
You have explained a number of times that NIMC’s focus now is the enrolment and issuance of the NIN. At what time do you think the National eID card could be issued to those that enrolled?
The Commission is currently issuing the National ID card but on a low scale due to the capacity of the card personalisation bureau deployed to pilot the scheme in 2014. We are still working out strategies to scale up the card production and issuance with the help of the Government and in future with the private sector. NIN is your identity and is sufficient to prove or assert your identity anytime, anywhere.
The Commission is also aware of the demand by the public for the physical token (ID card) for a number of valid reasons. Please bear with us as we do what is necessary to issue this card to those who are in need of it. Also, NIMC is modifying the NIN credential to address the physical token request. All these new initiatives are in the works and would be released soon.
Many Nigerians who have the eID cards seem to have difficulty on how to use the card for financial transactions. How can the card be used for financial transactions and what are the security features in the card?
The Payment applet on the card is usually activated before the card is issued to the rightful owner for use. The card carrier contains the information on the use of the card for financial transactions. In a simple term, the card functions as a debit card (with virtual account) where money can be loaded and used on Point-of-Sales (POS),
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and other payment channels including the web. The card has 18 security features and has been ranked as one of the most secured National ID cards in the world. Some of the security features can be seen with the eyes (ghost image, hologram, coat or arms, etc), while others require some special tools and light to see.
There was a recent news item on a court order stopping activities related to Nigeria’s national identity card system. What can you tell us about that and how is it being resolved?
The court case you are referring to is between Chams PLC and MasterCard. Unfortunately, NIMC was included as a Co-defendant and that affected some of our card operations. Because it is still an ongoing court case; therefore, I will not be making any further comments on the matter. We will await the outcome of the court proceedings and ruling.
How are you repositioning NIMC to increase awareness creation to sensitise Nigerians about the importance of the National Identification Number (NIN)?
Nigeria is a big country with a huge population. Creating awareness and sensitising about 200 million people is not an easy task and requires a lot of resources and logistics to achieve. Even though we collaborate with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria (VON), and all other national media outlets and companies to enlighten the general public, we still need to do more.
As stakeholders in the ID sector, we need the support, partnership, cooperation and assistance of all media companies and outlets on this national assignment. The best repositioning is to start with our communities, local governments and regions to share the news and speak to the people in the language they best understand on the ID need and use. Let’s join hands to bring everyone on board.
NIMC has extended registration to Nigerians in the diaspora. How have those in the diaspora welcomed this and what is the level of diaspora enrolment so far?
Diaspora enrolment was greatly received by the Nigerians in other countries and it has been going well since the launch. Enrolment is happening in over 15 countries across the world, with more countries to come on board in the near future. We are optimistic that more Nigerians will turn up to obtain the NIN; since it is a requirement for the application of a new and renewal of an expired Nigerian passport.
NIMC, in collaboration with the Federal Government declared 16 September as National Identity Day. What is its significance to the Nigerian society on a global perspective?
Nigeria formally launched and celebrated as the first country in the world to adopt and declare 16 September as International Identity Day. The event is a culmination of an enormous collective effort, which began in April 2018 when our country Nigeria successfully hosted the 4TH Annual Meeting of the ID4Africa Movement here in Abuja and joined a global coalition for recognition of 16September each year as International Identity Day.
That call was embraced with tremendous support and over 1500 individual signatures endorsing the proposition were collected from delegates which cut across 81 countries, including 41 African nations. The endorsement represented nearly 99 per cent of the participants that attended the Conference in Nigeria . To formalise Nigeria’s membership of the global coalition, the National Identity Management Commission, sought and obtained approval from the Federal Government through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Providing legal identity to all including birth registration is one of the global SDGs target, specifically SDG 16.9; and Nigeria is endorsing and supporting this achievement by declaring 16 September each year as National Identity Day as a way to create the awareness and get the buy in required
MainOne Partners World Bank To Deliver Connectivity in Burkina Faso Telcos
MainOne, West Africa’s premier connectivity and data centre solution provider, has been entrusted by the State of Burkina Faso, backed by the World Bank, to provide bulk connectivity services to a consortium of operators through the PAV-Burkina
Cooperative, for the next three years. Following an international bid to select a preferred operator, MainOne was chosen by the government of Burkina Faso (with financial backing from the World Bank) to provide PAV-Burkina with bulk capacity to nodes in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso.
A landlocked country, Burkina Faso has faced difficulties in accessing world-class connectivity and maintaining ubiquitous broadband internet access due to the lack of infrastructure and the reluctance of major operators to explore operational broadband service delivery models favorable for socio-economic development of the country.
To address this challenge, the PRICAO Initiative was created by the Burkina Faso Government, in collaboration with a consortium of Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators.
The purpose of the initiative is to facilitate the creation of virtual landing points as a platform for the extension of broadband network coverage in the country, with a view to improving the quality of connectivity in the region; increase Internet penetration and improve the performance of ICT services.
In order to set up an independent and competitive framework for connectivity services, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Postal Services (MDENP) with the support of the World Bank, created a Cooperative Consortium (SCOOP PAV-BURKINA).
The consortium brings together key electronic service stakeholders to deliver a turnkey project that will provide fiber optic transmission infrastructure between Ouagadougou and Dakola, to be delivered in two phases within a three -year period.
This Cooperative has the heavy task of managing and administering the infrastructure judiciously in order to ensure a fair distribution for the various marker players.
The World Bank’s $20 million plus support of the PRICAO initiative, has enabled the Burkinabe State set up a 200km fiber optic transmission link from Ouagadougou to Dakola.
The first phase of the project commenced in 2018, with the initial stage providing capacity in Ouagadougou over three years. Phase 2 of the project will commence in quarter two of year 2020 and will lead to the provision of additional internet capacity in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso within another three -year period.
Main One, has been selected to deliver Phase two and will provide 10 Gbps broadband capacity in Ouagadougou, together with 5Gbps in Bobo Dioulasso. Prior to this, MainOne had been selected in 2019 through a restricted bids process and currently deliver an additional capacity of 2.5Gbps to Ouagadougou to strengthen and secure the capacity initially delivered in Phase I of the project.
Leveraging their extensive partnership with key stakeholders in the region, MainOne has been able to provide its services in Burkina through a diverse terrestrial optical fibers connecting its landing point in Accra to the Burkinabe border town of Paga.
These projects and their success highlight the progress made by the Government of Burkina Faso and the initiatives of PAV-BURKNA with regards to critical broadband infrastructures and services in their quest to develop the digital economy. This is in accordance with the Government initiative to strengthen infrastructure and improve connectivity in the country.
The collaboration with MainOne has shown that significant progress can be achieved through bulk capacity purchasing, effectively maximizing the values of existing fiber assets in the region, complemented by new investments supported by International Development Agencies (IDA). This is improving service reach and reducing prices for consumers by removing cost duplication.
Through the Government’s action, financially supported by the World Bank and technically by the PAV BF cooperative, an increment in broadband internet penetration was recorded from 10 per cent to 19 per cent in 2019.
With MainOne’s track record in the region, choosing them for Phase 2 of the project will guarantee a considerable increase in broadband penetration in Burkina Faso and attainment of Government’s digital objectives.
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