AWS’s Cape Town data centre will open in the first half of 2020. Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING
AWS’s Cape Town data centre will open in the first half of 2020. Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING

Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) new data centre in Cape Town will stimulate further innovation and create new jobs, said Zubin Chagpar, head of Middle East and Africa Public Sector at AWS.

AWS will launch its first data centre in Africa in Cape Town in the first half of 2020, giving its customers access to cloud-computing services including data storage and security. The company’s technologies will also speed up time-to-market for its clients who will be able to roll out their new services faster, it said.

AWS said its customers in SA would also be able to store their data locally with the assurance that their content will not move without consent, while those looking to comply with the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act will have access to secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards.

Speaking on the sidelines of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Chagpar said AWS was continuing its investment in SA because of the growth potential and innovation in the country.

“So many developers are already building products using AWS cloud. This (new data centre) will unleash creativity of start-ups and businesses in SA. They will benefit more with additional performance now that the computing power is closer,” he said.

AWS’s clients in SA include Absa, which has been using Amazon’s cloud computing services for the past three years, Investec, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay and Standard Bank.

Pick n Pay has moved its e-commerce and mobile customer application to AWS, resulting in significant savings, the retailer said.

Chagpar would not comment on how many jobs will be created. However, he expects Amazon’s partners in SA to also hire more people to cater for the demand in AWS’s products.

AWS’s parent company Amazon already has a software developer centre in Cape Town, which was opened in 2004 and focuses on building networking technologies as well as next-generation software. AWS is also working with universities and start-ups to develop talent.

“We believe in the long-term potential of the region, country and the people,” said Chagpar.

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, said Africa and the Middle East had in the past been largely ignored with no access to technologies needed to be able to evolve and compete with the rest of the world. He said there was a “real opportunity” to help companies and developers in those regions have the same access to technology in a cost-effective way.

Over time, AWS will launch more centres to enable more development of new technologies, said Jassy.

AWS is the biggest cloud-computing provider in the world. It competes with Microsoft and also Google, among others.

This week AWS announced a range of new technology products including satellite service, to help its customers download and upload data faster and cheaper, and also a blockchain platform. Chagpar said 90% of the company’s products are driven by customer needs.

• The writer attended the re:Invent conference as a guest of AWS.