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African Expansion: Equinix Acquires MainOne for $320m

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Equinix MainOne

By Adedapo Adesanya

Leading digital infrastructure company, Equinix, has announced its expansion into Africa through the acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider, with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 of 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the requisite regulatory approvals.

The transaction has an enterprise value of $320 million and is expected to be AFFO accretive upon close, excluding integration costs, marking the first step in Equinix’s long-term strategy to become a leading African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company.

With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has become an established data centre hub. This makes the acquisition a pivotal entry point for Equinix into the continent.

Founded by Ms Funke Opeke in 2010, the company has enabled connectivity for the business community of Nigeria and now has digital infrastructure assets including three operational data centres, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in the first quarter of next year.

When completed, this acquisition will extend Platform Equinix into West Africa, giving organisations based inside and outside of Africa access to one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

Speaking on the deal, Mr Charles Meyers, President and CEO of Equinix said, “The acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market. MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa.

“Growth of data consumption in Africa is amongst the fastest in the world, and our customers are looking for a trusted partner to pursue the opportunities presented by broad mobile adoption and greater connectivity across the region.

“MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships, partner ecosystem and operating capability will extend the reach of Platform Equinix and bolster opportunities for customers in Africa and throughout the world.”

On his part, Mr John Dinsdale, Chief Analyst & Research Director, Synergy Research Group added, “Africa has been the missing piece in the Equinix jigsaw, and this acquisition of MainOne will be a great first step onto the continent. The demand for data centre services in Africa is strong, with Nigeria at the epicentre of exponential economic growth in West Africa.

“Nigeria is Africa’s largest country by both population and economy, and its growth drivers include rapid mobile adoption, increased data consumption from its young population, good subsea and terrestrial connectivity, and a strong enterprise market. This is advancing the region toward a more digitalized economy and driving data centre growth and expansion to provide much-needed digital infrastructure.”

Speaking Ms Opeke, added that “Equinix will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa. I thank our founding shareholders led by Mr Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris and AfDB for investing in the MainOne vision to bridge the Digital Divide in Africa.

“With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built-in twelve years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Technology

Bybit NFT Marketplace to Allow Multi-chain Transactions

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Bybit NFT Marketplace

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

One of the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges, Bybit, has launched its non-fungible token (NFT) platform that aims to streamline digital ownership and support the development of blockchain gaming and the metaverse.

The platform called Bybit NFT Marketplace will allow users to conduct multi-chain transactions, making it easy for them to participate in the exciting NFT, GameFi, and metaverse marketplaces.

Bybit’s secure and reliable infrastructure means that NFT collectors can verify the authenticity and the chain of custody of their favourite NFTs, making it easy for users to authenticate their origin and value.

As a result, users of the exchange will not be required to link their personal wallet addresses to the platform. Instead, they can buy, sell or trade NFTs on the Ethereum ERC-721 standard through their Bybit spot accounts — opening the door to digital ownership to collectors of all knowledge and skill levels.

To further spur interest among the community, Bybit is launching campaigns featuring exclusive NFTs from Monsters Galaxy, ONBD and REALY as its debut into the NFT world.

Inspired by crowd favourites like Pokémon and Monster Hunter, Monsters Galaxy is a social role-playing mobile game developed by Gaia Online that allows players to participate in epic monster battles with their teams of monsters, or capture wild monsters. So far, it has attracted over 25 million players across the globe to be part of its fanbase.

As a curatorial brand and incubator focused on discovering, conceptualizing and realizing NFT projects, ONBD collaborates with crypto-native artists and traditional artists alike to onboard them to the metaverse. The first series from ONBD on the Bybit NFT Marketplace features more than 100 unique NFT artworks from nine artists from around the world.

The REALY Metaverse, also known as KOOOLA virtual city, is a lively metaverse inspired by the street culture where users can meet, trade and play games in a fully immersive experience. Players will get to interact with real-life brands and scenarios in the virtual world as avatars (e.g. purchase and wear virtual clothing by real-world brands).

“While some may be sceptical of the investment value of NFTs, it remains a fact that NFTs not only make it possible for everyone to participate in and appreciate digital ownership but also enable artists and creators to exercise control over the ownership of their work,” said Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Bybit. “We are excited to provide a premier NFT platform for Bybit users, so they can be part of the creation of a new marketplace and new world called the metaverse.”

“The Monster Galaxy series has a rich legacy and an established fanbase in mobile gaming. Our aim is to nurture and grow this community, as we lead them into a blockchain-enabled Web 3.0 ecosystem.

“Bybit’s NFT Marketplace is focused on creating a seamless user experience for new users of crypto, backed by their robust infrastructure and deep exchange liquidity which make them the ideal partners for our maiden NFT collection drop. We look forward to working closely with their team,” said James Cao, founder and CEO of Monster Galaxy.

“ONBD is proud to be building a strong Web 3.0 community of dedicated artists and collectors of the highest calibre. We are very excited to be working with Bybit and their new world-class NFT Marketplace to engage with their community and introduce our internationally renowned artists to a new audience,” said Eva Ren, founder and CEO of ONBD.

“REALY’s goal is to be at the forefront of the street culture metaverse and we are very excited to achieve this milestone with Bybit, which is known for its deep liquidity and their no-downtime commitment. The Bybit NFT Marketplace is a clear choice for us to debut our street culture NFTs,” said George Yang, founder and CEO of REALY.

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Nigerian Developer to Launch New First-person Shooter Game

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NCHE: The Escape

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A Nigerian developer, Mr Okolie Uchechukwu, will launch a new first-person shooter game, NCHE: The Escape, on Monday, March 14, 2022.

A statement from Mr Uchechukwu disclosed that the mobile game, a product of an inquisitive mind, entails the player using the resources available to make his way through lasers and zombies in the quest for survival.

According to him, a test was carried out last year and based upon the feedback, he and a co-developer, Cleec Designs, an indie studio based in Nigeria, improved the skill balance, gameplay experience for both android and IOS devices, and boosted the overall graphics and UI design.

He stated that the online showcase uploaded via his official YouTube channel has gathered interest from fans of the genre across the world.

When officially unveiled in less than two months’ time, game lovers would be able to download and play NCHE: The Escape for free by both iOS and Android users.

Mr Uchechukwu further explained that NCHE: The Escape thrusts players into a mysterious mental facility where escape is seemingly impossible.

“You’ll have to keep your wits about you as you try to find a means to escape. As the perfect icing to the cake, the facility is overrun by bloodthirsty zombies, so making it out of the place alive is indeed a challenge.

“Players will go through a series of eerie levels each time, encountering zombies, picking up defence supplies, and avoiding the lasers. NCHE: The Escape places players in a strange mental facility where the existence of life is unthinkable.

“So, making your way through the facility overrun by violent zombies will be a challenging task. Players can pick up guns and ammo on their way as they move ahead in levels, in search of their way to escape.

“The hitch here is that players have to be critical when using their weapons as ammo is limited. They will come across moving lasers and zombies that can be shot down any moment but sometimes simply dodging them would be a better alternative for players to make it through the advancing intense levels.

“The difficulty level increases with every progress as players will find it more and more challenging to withstand the approaching obstacles,” he added.

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Technology

Nigeria to Launch Another Satellite in Space Soon—FG

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NigComSat

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has disclosed that it plans to launch another satellite through the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) before the end of the year.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, during a tour of facilities at the agency’s base in Abuja.

He said: “That approval of federal government which I have secured has been forwarded to NigComSat. Now, it is on the table of NigComSat to answer that question. I want to make sure that as I said that 2022 is NigComSat year along with NIPOST. I want to make sure that all work in progress must be completed by 2022.

“As I said earlier, 2022 has been dedicated to NigComSat and NIPOST, and I want to do the best I can to improve what we have achieved in the previous years.

“I recently approved two subsidiaries of NigComSat and I am here to supervise what they have been doing, and I discovered some areas where we need to work to improve their performance significantly.”

He also stated that for the agency not to be considered for privatisation again, it must provide quality service and generate good revenue for the federal government.

He added: “Before I was made the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), there was the Oronsaye report which recommended for the scrapping of NITDA. But when I was able to turn things around from a generation of N7 billion to N19 billion in a year, no one talks about scrapping NITDA again.

“So, if you are able to turn things around, render quality service and generate income, no one will talk of privatising your company again.”

On her part, the Director-General, NigComSat, Mrs Abimbola Alike, appreciated the Minister for his immense support.

Mrs Alike stated: “We all know what our budget used to be N200 million-N300m, for a company that needs capital after overhead.

“He stood for us and said there must be something good in NigComSat because he is a man who believes that we can actually turn around NigComSat.”

She assured Mr Pantami of the agency’s readiness to deliver quality service and generate revenue to justify his efforts at revitalising the agency.

According to her, this year, Nigerians would see new significant changes that will make them know that NigComSat is a new company that can compete with its global counterparts.

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