Kenya seeks firms to set up second data facility

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The government is calling on the private sector to partner with it in setting up a second national data centre, in a move likely to boost the country’s information and communication technology industry. The initiative, which is part of the government’s drive towards promoting e-commerce, is aimed at creating a secure location for the fast-growing industry.

“It is the only key infrastructure that we have not done. With the connection to the fibre optic cable and more content coming in, we need more storage space,,” Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo told the Nation on Wednesday.

He spoke a day after his ministry advertised for expression of interest in designing, funding, building, installation and commissioning of the proposed National Data Centre. “It will encourage processes such as cloud computing,” he said.

The data centre, which is expected take up to a year to be up and running, will offer services to operators, government, public and private sector organisations.
According to Dr Ndemo, storage space has been the missing link between enhanced connectivity and increased content.

E-commerce has been lagging due to security concerns as the storage options available on say Google can be accessed by almost everyone. “The work will involve setting up of a physical infrastructure on site and have a multi layer security system in place to prevent unauthorised access to the centre,” said the notice which appeared in the dailies on Tuesday and seems to be targeting telecommunication operators.

Dr Ndemo said the government through the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) will provide land, security and initial funding for the project. “It is very expensive to operate a data centre,” he said citing the experience gained from running the government’s centre.

The location of government’s data centre, the only one in the country, cannot be revealed because of security reasons, but it had earlier announced plans to build two national data centres.