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Nigeria's Data Domestication Challenge

Data center operators in Nigeria are working harder to see how the federal government would mandate the domestication of data. In a recent event, “there major Data Centre operators in Nigeria have called on the federal government to make policies aimed to localizing data and content in the country, saying that would help reduce capital flight, boost economy and ultimately create jobs”.

I certainly wish them good luck. But largely, they would be out of luck. Even United States does not have such a policy. That is why Microsoft builds data centers in Europe to serve American customers. The Mediterranean region has better natural ways of cooling data centers that make their operations cheaper.

If Nigeria is to put such a mandate, I do not know where we would start. Most of these data center operators require initial fixed cost which most Nigerian small web firms cannot afford. With JustHost, you can launch a product with $30. In the Nigerian operators, you would need thousands of dollars.

The operators need help with infrastructure like electricity. But pushing the nation to mandate this would be unfortunate. Their pricing model remains high and that would cripple the nascent small web entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Nonetheless, Nigeria should keep some critical data within the nation. I am told Galaxy Backbone is already handling that for the nation. And most banks are not allowed to host outside the nation. We do not need to complicate this issue – let market forces determine where anyone can get services. If you force local firms to pay huge fees and host locally while allowing Facebook and Google to host externally to serve Nigerians, you have not helped Nigeria.