Data centres owned by the UAE’s largest telecom operator, e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group), and artificial intelligence provider G42, have officially been merged under Khazna Data Centres, in a digital partnership meant to support the creation of a digital ecosystem in the UAE.
After the merger, Khazna is now the largest data centre provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), overseeing the operation of 12 data centres at present.
Furthermore, an additional 13 data centres are under construction and another three are set for construction in future. Khazna’s planned capacity for data centres by the end of 2023 exceeds 300-megawatts.
G42 is set to own 60% of Khazna Data Centres, while e& is set to own 40%. Through this agreement, both firms may increase the value of their infrastructure assets while also optimising process and resource utilisation, without negatively affecting their respective commercial positionings, client relationships, and market positions.
Competition Heats Up in MENA Data Centre Market
Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, there have been excellent growth prospects for the MENA data centre market. Data consumption and demand for cloud services have increased as businesses adopt remote operations and shift work online. The data centre market in MENA is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%, reaching $5 billion by the end of 2026.
Notably, several global players have been drawn into MENA by the favourable market conditions for the data centre industry, and the UAE has been a regional leader drawing in significant rates of investment. In 2019, Microsoft opened a data centre in Abu Dhabi, and another in Dubai. A year later, IBM entered the MENA market for the first time, opening two data centres in the UAE.
e& and G42 anticipate that their joint venture will enhance their data expertise and ability to keep pace with competition and the accelerating growth of the MENA data centre market.
Peng Xiao, Group CEO at G42, expressed his faith in the merger, saying that “we are confident that this next phase in its growth will help attract new global players to the UAE, contributing to the development of the local and regional digital ecosystem and economies.”
Salvador Anglada, CEO of e& enterprise, affirmed that “the completion of the deal with G42 will further enhance our capabilities to design and deliver infrastructure in line with our vision to be the leading digital enabler that transforms enterprises, governments and societies.”