Muhammad Bello Abubakar

Muhammad Bello Abubakar

Managing Director & CEO, Galaxy Backbone Limited
Ayotunde Coker

Ayotunde Coker

Managing Director, Rack Centre
By providing reliable infrastructure for companies in Nigeria and even the region, IT couriers make a substantial contribution to the local economy.

How does the company impact Nigeria's ICT infrastructure?
MUHAMMAD BELLO ABUBAKAR Galaxy Backbone Limited is the ICT infrastructure and services provider backbone of the Nigerian public sector. We play a huge role in ensuring that public and by extension private-sector organizations in Nigeria have a reliable ICT infrastructure. We account for up to 10% of the 38% broadband penetration across the country and provide hosting and disaster recovery data infrastructure in Abuja and Enugu, respectively. Through this, we contribute to the nation's technology and economic development.

AYOTUNDE COKER Rack Centre is setting the highest standard of quality in terms of consistency, reliability, and customer satisfaction. At Constructed Facility Certified Tier III, we are the most connected place in West Africa and probably in Africa. All undersea cables serving the Atlantic coast of Africa are directly connected to Rack Centre, meaning that every country on the Atlantic coast is directly connected to us. We have built a fantastic carrier and content ecosystem with over 35 carriers and major ISPs located at Rack Centre. Customers hosting at Rack Centre achieve significant connectivity savings and achieve efficiencies. We have created a great ecosystem of cloud platform providers in Nigeria, with six key cloud platforms and growing. In addition, the interest in the international cloud platform is growing as well. We are also now commencing another phase of expansion that will make us the largest data center facility in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa. Nigeria's Internet Exchange Point is hosted at Rack Centre and continues to grow exponentially in scale. The most successful businesses host at Rack Centre.

To what do you attribute Nigeria's success so far in delivering ICT infrastructure?
MBA There has been a focused level of leadership from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy by the minister, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in ensuring that ICT infrastructure services are delivered and there is harmonious collaboration across the information and communication agencies of the ministry. This is in addition to the government commitment to grow the ICT infrastructure in the country. To this, the government funded the NICTIB 1 project that covered the southwest, south, southeast, and north-central and is committed to funding the NICTIB 2 project, which will provide ICT infrastructure to the northeast, northwest, some parts of the north-central, and southwest. Several incentives have been also provided by the government to drive the process.

How can businesses better adapt to the pace at which digitalization is accelerating in Nigeria?
AC The issue most businesses faced in becoming more digital was having to build their own data centers, which requires a significant amount of capital investment. Thus, only the biggest businesses could get the benefit of linking up, becoming automated, and having a solid technology base. This has changed significantly, especially over the last six years, because we have brought in facilities where businesses can co-locate at world-class quality and not have to build their own data centers, thus freeing up capital expenditure for core business investment. Cloud services now enable a much lower entry point for businesses to technology. Businesses in Nigeria are increasingly starting to use cloud services from abroad and business email services on a pay-as-you-go basis, becoming more automated. What we have been doing is bringing cloud services to Nigeria. Businesses can become better digitalized by simply adopting the services we offer and leaving the businesses' technology and infrastructural aspects to us.

What is your outlook for 2020?
MBA There are several uncertainties in our world at the moment. One example is the COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled global economic development and hampered business travel on the one hand and encouraged ICT online communications to reduce human physical contact on the other. Also, the oil war in the global arena has the potential to boost growth in the industry because of the need to diversify the economy away from oil, especially in Nigeria. Perhaps nothing substantial in terms of growth will happen to the ICT industry until 3Q or 4Q2020, when some of these uncertainties are resolved.

What are your priorities at Rack Centre for 2020?
AC I am looking forward to 2020 being an exciting year for Rack Centre. We have a great reputation with our customers that we will continue to enhance, while providing a burgeoning ecosystem for local and international companies.