Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon, has announced that it will open an infrastructure region in South Africa in the first half of 2020.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments, on a paid subscription basis.

The new AWS Africa Region will consist of three Availability Zones, and it is hoped that the new data centre will offer lower latency to local clients, enabling them to run higher workloads. This should make it possible to better support artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

The e-commerce giant says that the new data centres will “offer secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards”.

It will also mean that AWS customers in South Africa can store their data locally, bringing it in line with South Africa’s upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act, which means that individuals’ data cannot be moved elsewhere without consent.

Amazon Web Services doubles down on South Africa

This is the latest in a series of AWS investments in South Africa. In 2004, Amazon opened a development centre in Cape Town that focuses on building networking technologies, next generation software for customer support, and the technology behind Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

More recently, it has launched infrastructure points in Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF to the continent and adding to the 138 points of presence AWS has around the world.

A number of organisations in South Africa have reportedly moved their data to AWS, including Absa, Investec, MedScheme, MiX Telematics, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, Entersekt and Travelstart. The National Museums of Kenya is also using AWS to digitise some of the artifacts that make up one of the largest collections of archaeology and paleontology in the world.

Financial services company Absa, one of the largest banks in Africa said:

“AWS has been Absa’s primary cloud provider for the past three years. The reduction in latencies that will accompany their expansion to South Africa will further enable us to scale.”

Schalk Nolte, CEO of Entersekt said:

“Our customers are large financial institutions for whom even minutes of downtime are unacceptable. They experience significant spikes in transaction volumes during the course of a month and AWS provides the elasticity and availability they demand, without having to build, operate, and protect a system of this kind themselves.”

AWS is also investing in South African technology community, taking part in a number of philanthropic and charity activities including supporting AfricaTeenGeeks, an NGO that teaches children to code, and Code4CT, a charity that equips young girls with technical skills.

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