A data center has been unveiled in the town of Zamengoe near Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, with authorities  describing the facility as the biggest in the central African region. It is hoped that the new data center will play a vital role in the country’s drive towards digital transformation.

The facility, owned by Cameroon’s state-run telecommunications company, CAMTEL, was constructed by Huawei Technologies Cameroon and has a 2,000 terabyte storage capacity.

The General Manager of CAMTEL, Yah Judith Sunday, said at the inaugural ceremony on 10 July that the data center will not only help government institutions and even business enterprises in the country organize, process, store and disseminate huge data, but it will also enable the country henceforth be able to preserve sensitive data more securely and at cheaper costs.

Front view of the main structure of the Cameroon data center unveiled on 10 July 2020.

She said the facility, which was built in compliance with the latest standards of the sector, will boost the country’s telecommunications ecosystem and that of the Central African sub-region as well as ensure the country’s sovereignty as it will permit the mass storage of data within the national territory unlike has been the case before now.

“CAMTEL is working resolutely to translate this digital transformation vision into reality. It is within this framework, that fits, the construction of this ultra-modern data center which is compliant with all the latest standards in this field,” Yah Sunday said.

Key features of Cameroon's new data center

The state-of-the-art structure, which comprises five different buildings spread on a total surface area of 3,019 square meters, was constructed to the tune of about $17 million (approximately XAF 10 billion). It is an upgraded version of the country’s first-ever satellite telecommunications center which was built by former Cameroon President, Ahmadou Ahidjo, in 1975.

The data center is part of the second phase of the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN2) project. It has other features including; a 400 m² server room with a capacity of 5 cubes, that is 130 bays; a central command room with eight working positions; an automated energy management system of 440 KW of undulated power with three transformers of 800 KVA, four power generator sets of 1,000 KVA each, a diesel tank of 40,000-liter capacity, a fire detection and fire extinguishing system, as well as a video surveillance system.

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A data center is a big opportunity for young Cameroonian startups and innovators

Cameroon’s Telecommunications Minister, Minette Li Likeng, under whose technical tutelage CAMTEL operates, hailed the telco for undertaking the giant initiative, saying it will also serve as a veritable opportunity for young Cameroonians with start-up ideas in the Information and Communication Technology domain.

Cameroon's Telecommunications Minister and her entourage are told how the data center operates during a stop in one of the equipment rooms.

“After making a tour of this infrastructure, I can say that I am very satisfied. This data center will enable Cameroon to catch up with the growing need for digital data storage. With our growing digital economy, there’s a need for important data to be preserved. It’s a step in also guaranteeing Cameroon’s sovereignty by preserving data of its institutions within its territorial space. This is a center that has been constructed with the latest physical and cloud technology. It’s good news for the hundreds of Cameroonian start-uppers who are working to develop applications,” Likeng stated.

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