Google partner Deimos plans Rwanda, Zambia, north Africa expansion

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Thursday, 13 October 2022 09:29

Data Centre © GETTY

Google’s biggest cloud partner in Africa Deimos is planning to expand into new African countries including Rwanda and Zambia, Deimos CEO Andrew Mori tells The Africa Report.

Rwanda is top of the agenda, with entry planned next year, Mori says. The company, which is based in Cape Town, currently employs about 100 people with a presence in Nigeria and Kenya. Deimos is also in the process of establishing itself in Senegal and Ghana, and has secured its first client in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the longer term, Mori wants to enter all major African hubs including Egypt and Morocco.

Deimos specialises in data engineering, machine learning and security for the cloud. Mori, a former chief technology officer of Nigerian e-commerce player Konga, is the company’s majority shareholder. Deimos has customers in Nigeria including the central bank for the country’s e-naira project, business payment platform TeamApt and Kuda Bank. Clients in South Africa include ARC, part of the French communication group Publicis, and Sanlam. The company will make strategic decisions itself over which countries to enter, with a focus on underserved regions, rather than simply following its customers, Mori says.

The fact that the company, set up in 2018, has rapidly reached profitability means it can reinvest in growth. The company, which is debt-free, has annual revenue close to $20m and a compound annual growth rate of about 400%.

  • Mori is undecided on whether to seek to raise funding for faster expansion, though current plans can be funded by the company
  • He would like to act “a little more aggressively” rather than expanding over five years. “The opportunity is now.”

Data sovereignty

The $1bn Equiano cable which connects Portugal to South Africa landed in Cape Town in August. Google aims to use the cable to increase Internet access across Africa, where it expects 300 million people to come on line over the next five years. Research commissioned by Google says that Equiano will lead to internet speeds in Nigeria increasing five-fold by 2025, and almost tripling in South Africa. The research says the cable will lead to the creation of 1.6 million jobs in Nigeria by 2025, 180,000 in South Africa and 21,000 in Namibia. African data prices, the research says, will fall by between 16% and 21%.

In October, Google announced the creation of a “data region” in South Africa to support the cable. A data region, Mori says, is made up of a cluster of three data centres spread out over a limited area to reduce the risk of simultaneous failure. The region announced by Google is South Africa’s second behind that created by Amazon Web Services. West Africa still lacks its own data region.

  • Deimos customers in west Africa, who have been depending on Europe, will now be served by a cable link to the new South Africa region, Mori says.
  • In the medium term there will be more data regions in all parts of Africa, which will end reliance on Europe and establish Africa’s data sovereignty, he adds.

Bottom line

Deimos has a solid platform for expansion with a Google partnership and African data region in place.

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