Nerds Unite 2022; Propelling Solutions to Boost Global Sustainability 

Organized by MainOne, an Equinix company, the 7th edition of Nerds Unite brought together various stakeholders within the tech ecosystem and general business community to discuss trends and issues that drive the growth and implementation of technology within West Africa. 

Themed ‘The Power of Global Interconnection’, Nerds Unite 2022 featured a keynote address on Interconnection and the power of the global Equinix Platform to connect African Businesses and Global/Local Service providers, delivered by Vice President, Growth and Emerging Markets, Equinix, Judith Gardiner. 

Welcome Address

Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne

Appreciating everyone including customers and partners who attended the virtual event and have been with the company through the pandemic period as well as the 2021 edition of the Nerds Unite, Funke Opeke, CEO MainOne, emphasized the uniqueness of the 2022 edition.

Nerds Unite 2022 is special for MainOne because this is our first Nerds Unite as an Equinix company. As most of you know already, on April 1, 2022, MainOne was acquired by Equinix, the world’s global digital infrastructure company and we are delighted that we have Equinix joining us in this event today.

Equinix is entering Africa for the first time through the MainOne platform with the objective of integrating all of MainOne’s facilities into the global Equinix fabric network. 

This network is already connecting over ten thousand companies globally, in over 200 facilities and over 65 cities. “Just imagine the power of that now being available to all our businesses in West Africa.”

Indeed we think the possibilities are endless and we intend to continue to drive the tech-fuelled growth we have witnessed in our economies with these expanded Equinix capabilities. We need the growth because the past few years of pandemic-induced recession and now high inflation have not been easy on businesses or our tech professionals who are increasingly seeking greener pastures offshore and we will do more here.”

Keynote Address

Nerds Unite - Judith Gardiner, Vice President Growth and Emerging Market, Equinix
Judith Gardiner, Vice President Growth and Emerging Market, Equinix

Giving her keynote address, Judith Gardiner, Vice President of Growth and Emerging Market, Equinix, spoke on the interconnection and power of the global Equinix Platform to grow Pan-African conglomerates: Experience from other markets including Asia, North America and Eastern Europe.

She pointed out that Equinix’s entry into Africa comes with great value addition to the continent. “As we grow our infrastructure platforms and partnerships in the region, start-ups in Nigeria will have the same access to the power of the entire data center network of Platform Equinix, in the same manner, the most sophisticated multinational operating from Singapore does. And not only will Lagos, Accra or Abidjan FinTech have this global access, but they will also continue to enjoy access to the rich ecosystem that MainOne has already built-in region within its data centers through peering with both global and local players to ensure that 40 percent of its Internet traffic is terminated in the country and growing.”

Gardiner also made it known that Equinix is powering the Financial sector with interconnections in 30 countries and six continents. The organization provides access to global services providers and network service providers.

After noting the benefits set out by Equinix, she remarked that the organization will continue to build out the infrastructure of MainOne and Platform Equinix across West Africa. “We trust that in years to come we will look back on this milestone event as a game-changer in the digital transformation fortunes of many of the businesses represented here today.”

Panel Session 

The conference featured two panel sessions. The first focused on “Unlocking Growth through An Interconnected Global Digital Infrastructure” and the second was “Maximizing Business Efficiency and Minimizing Talent Drain and Rising CAPEX through IT Outsourcing”.

They both included industry experts who discussed the vast benefits accruable to subscribers through the power of global interconnection and IT Outsourcing.

Panel 1

Discussing the challenges and opportunities a global digital infrastructure offers to Pan-African focused organizations that seek to deliver their services and solutions to a global market, Martin Atkinson, Senior Manager, Peering & Interconnection EMEA, Equinix moderated the panel alongside panelists including Kendall Ananyi, Founder/CEO, Tizeti Networks, JP Attueyi, Chief Information Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Nikhil Khandelwal, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Lagos Free Zone and Ben Ryall, Edge Strategy Manager, Sub Saharan Africa, Meta.

While broadband penetration is increasing across West Africa, the cost of providing cross-border Interconnections and an interconnected digital infrastructure remains expensive and prohibitive within African states. For the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to achieve its objectives, pan-African enterprises must be able to leverage on deeply interconnected digital infrastructure within the continent.

Panel 2

The second panel was moderated by Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, with panelists including Eunice King, Head, Technology Infrastructure, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System; Adebowale Shonekan, Head, Network Operations (Group & Subsidiaries), Access Bank; Ifeyinwa Kojo, Country Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (Operated by Selectium); and Oluwole Oyeniran, Partner, Enterprise Technology & Performance Leader, Deloitte.

In today’s dynamic world, keeping up with the complexity of software, hardware and technology systems can be difficult. Some organizations find themselves unable to properly optimize their technology to reach the highest level of productivity. This challenge is further compounded by the increasing cost of procurement and maintenance of IT infrastructure and the shortage of skilled personnel through Brain Drain (Talent Migration).

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