Amazon investment boosts Cape Town’s big data hub

Cape Town has welcomed Amazon’s significant new investment as the region aims to become the tech and big data hub of Africa.

The new announcement will see the establishment of three data centres in Cape Town, expanding on Amazon’s existing investment in the Amazon Development Centre for Amazon Web Services, and the establishment of one of Cape Town’s largest call centres.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: “Cape Town has recently been identified as the tech hub of Africa, and when tech giants like Amazon make the decision to open their data centres here, it shows massive confidence in the Western Cape economy and our skills base. The ICT sector has massive potential for economic growth and this investment by Amazon will contribute significantly towards economic development and will create new jobs in the sphere, really cementing our reputation as a space for innovation and technology.”

The investment also nods to other favourable conditions in the region, including sustainability goals, ease of doing business, reliable infrastructure and growing talent.

GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy said: “Amazon Web Service’s investment is a direct result of their long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for their global infrastructure. With 22 out of 25 municipalities in the province allowing customers to feed electricity into the grid, and with a regulator-approved wheeling tariff and framework for Cape Town, it is an ideal base for AWS in Africa.”

The announcement also aligns with the President’s Investment Summit, geared towards improving confidence in the country’s economy, with a goal of attracting $100bn of new investment to the country.

CEO of the Western Cape’s Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Wesgro, Tim Harris, added: “The deal was sealed on the back of the incentives that will be available at the new Atlantis Special Economic Zone, underlining the importance of a competitive incentive regime for attracting investment.”

Cape Town has also has been investing in the Digi-tech ecosystem for several years, securing the expansion of good fibre internet connection, reliable electricity supply and other support services. Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille said: “The City is continuously creating an enabling environment for companies to invest by easing the way of doing business while we create reliable infrastructure.

“The tech sector has high growth potential for our economy and citizens, and we will continue to lead and position Cape Town as one of the leading investment destinations in Africa. Cape Town is also home to four universities and a steady stream of engineers and the required skills to support the expansion of the tech sector. The City welcomes Amazon’s investment as we believe it further strengthens Cape Town’s position as global ideas capital of Africa.”