Amazon Web Services (AWS) has stated, in its new economic impact study (EIS), that it plans to invest 30.4bn more rands (approx. US$1.6bn) in its South African cloud infrastructure by 2029
It was in 2018 that AWS announced plans to launch data centre infrastructure in the country. Since then, it has invested US$800mn through 2022 to meet customer demand for cloud computing services, according to the EIS. Thousands of South African customers have used AWS technologies to transform their businesses and accelerate their innovation, agility, and cost savings since AWS launched the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region in 2020.
AWS’s investment in South Africa from 2018-2022 has contributed significantly to gross domestic product (GDP), while supporting an estimated average of 5,700 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs locally on an average annual basis. This includes local vendors in construction, engineering, energy consulting, plumbing, maintenance, and security.
To help meet South Africa’s National Digital and Future Skills Strategy, AWS is committed to supporting digital literacy goals through innovative development programmes. In 2019, AWS launched the AWS Equity Equivalent Investment Program (EEIP) in South Africa, to pursue its mission to invest more than US$20mn in developing 100% black-owned small information and communications technology (ICT) and digital economy businesses in the country through December 2026.
The EEIP allows small business owners to participate in an 18-24 month development and incubation programme, becoming certified developers and solutions architects in the AWS Partner Network (APN). The programme has supported the creation of 75 permanent jobs at local businesses, including 24 positions for women and 17 for youth.
Amazon has also reiterated its commitment to becoming a more sustainable business and the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. It is on a path to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 – five years ahead of its original target.
AWS launched a 10MW solar power plant in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province in 2021. This project is expected to generate up to 28,000MWh of renewable energy per year.