>Is there a good location where we could either rent bare metal servers
>(something like Internap - preferred) or colocate servers within
>Africa that can serve most of the region?
Africa is a tough nut to crack. I have been building networks there for clients for decades and the first thing to understand is that Africa is BIG. Geographically, you can fit the US, Europe, and Canada (and have room to spare). Typical Mercator maps make it look much smaller than it really is. Anyway, my point here is that you should not be thinking about Africa as "a region" or "a continent."
When a lot of people say "Africa," they really mean "South Africa" (the small country), and there is great connectivity there---but positioning yourself in South Africa doesn't really help you any more to get to Ghana (for example) than being in the Netherlands.
If you really are thinking AFRICA as in AFRICA, you probably should use an approach that divides it into regions. You can break it up however you want, but if you start with 4 regions (Southern, Northern, Western, Eastern/Central) you'll have chunks that actually hold together from a telecoms point of view pretty well.
My best experiences (and these are about 3 years out of date) have been in Jo'burg (Southern), Nairobi/Addis (Eastern/Central), Ghana (Western), and Egypt (Northern), but there is a lot of interest and a lot of progress so getting some ground knowledge would be a good idea.
The real bandwidth is submarine cables that go up and down the coasts --- you can find some maps of these of varying accuracy and quality --- while actual E/W and N/S connectivity in the center of the continent is much more limited.
There are a number of Internet-promoting organizations in Africa---you can start with ISOC and Afrinic that sponsor a number of projects aimed at increasing capacity there, but you'll find a bunch of people trying to do good things. If you are mostly interested in South Africa, there's NAPAfrica and SAFNOG (Southern African equivalent of NANOG) as information sources.
Anyway: I can get more specific, but it's hard to really offer super-specific advice on a vague question because, you know, Africa. That's a big topic.