Damac invests $1b in data centres to diversify business

The Dubai-based largest property group in private sector sees bright future for IT sector; Chairman says data centres are an extension of the real estate sector, enhanced with more sophisticated technology and MEP engineering

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Muzaffar Rizvi

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Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Group, said his group is ready to explore investment in IT sector to cater to rising demand from the tech-savvy customers in the region. — Supplied photos
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Group, said his group is ready to explore investment in IT sector to cater to rising demand from the tech-savvy customers in the region. — Supplied photos

Published: Sat 11 Feb 2023, 2:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Feb 2023, 2:08 PM

Damac Group sees bright future for Information technology and plans to invest $1 billion in the data centre business across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, its top official says.

Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Group, said his group is ready to explore investment in IT sector to cater to rising demand from the tech-savvy customers in the region.


“We’re investing $600 million into the Saudi Arabia alone as part of our $1 billion data centre development strategy that seeks to serve emerging demand across the Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” Sajwani told Khaleej Times during an interview on Saturday.

“We launched Damac Data Centres to ensure that overlooked and underserved markets have data centre facilities. We’re supporting the Saudi Vision for 2030 and its strategy for accelerating development and growth locally,” he said.


Damac has accelerated its data centre roll outs due to local and international customer demand. Customers are finalising agreements to secure all available capacity within these facilities with deals closing before the end of 2023.

"Our aim is to develop data centre facilities in markets where new investment in digital infrastructure can have maximum impact on local economies, enterprises and end users,” he said.

Data centres go live in 2023

In reply to a question, he said Damac Data Centre will go live with facilities in Riyadh and Dammam before the end of 2023.

"Currently, we have 20 megawatts IT capacity under construction in Saudi Arabia. At Leap 2023, we announced a further 35 megawatts,” he said.

The Damac Group team with the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCIT) of Saudi Arabia officials at Leap 2023.
The Damac Group team with the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCIT) of Saudi Arabia officials at Leap 2023.

Sajwani said each of the two facilities will launch with five megawatts IT capacity in fourth quarter of 2023 followed by a further five megawatts in first quarter of 2024.

“Both facilities will deliver a full 55 megawatts of IT capacity by 2025,” he said.

No shift in business focus

Sajwani dispelled the impression that Damac is shifting its business focus from real estate to the IT sector with $1 billion investment in development of data centres.

The chairman said investment in data centres development is part of the group’s strategy to diversify its business.

“Not at all. This means we are diversifying beyond real estate. We are already well into this journey with our business now encompassing hospitality, logistics, fashion and retail, and capital markets,” he said.

Why investment in data centres

Also, the chairman of Damac Group said data centres are an extension of the real estate sector, enhanced with more sophisticated technology and MEP engineering.

“It blends well with the fabric of our flagship business – property development. We aim for a 20-30 per cent profit rate from data centres for the group,” he said.

“Damac is in a digitally transition period, and we are constantly looking towards new, innovative, and technologically-enhanced industries, sectors and investments to add to our portfolio,” he said.

Promising outlook for IT

Sajwani believes IT sector has a promising future as it is evolving at a very fast pace to cater to rising demand from the tech-savvy population worldwide.

He said it is no secret that the IT sector has only seen a steady climb and it has been and will continue to be the way of the future.

"From AI to metaverse to ChatGPT now – technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid and innovative pace. Businesses are making wise investments into technology because that is where both our present and future lie,” he said.

Saudi investment

In reply to a question, he said Saudi Arabia has a young, digitally savvy population and a lot to offer in terms of digital innovation and smart cities.

"We look forward to supporting the growth of its digital economy. The kingdom also holds a unique position in the Mena region. Its borders touch more countries than almost any other and it is an ideal jumping off point for connecting across Africa and the GCC,” he said.

“Through our facilities, we aim to offer local diversity as well as rapid access to subsea cable systems that serve regional and global needs,” he added.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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