Amazon opens its first cloud data center in Africa

It should improve the region's weak server infrastructure.

Chris Helgren / Reuters

Amazon’s cloud data centers have arrived in South Africa, helping millions of people, businesses and organizations to benefit from faster connectivity and viable access to next-generation technology. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is located in Cape Town and has three separate “Availability Zones,” meaning the data centers are situated far enough apart to mitigate the risk of a single event impacting the service’s overall operations.

The launch represents the latest push by Amazon into the continent. It set up a development center in Cape Town back in 2004, and in 2015 opened an AWS office in Johannesburg. In 2017 the Amazon Global Network expanded to Africa through AWS Direct Connect, and in 2018 Amazon established its first infrastructure on the African continent, launching Amazon CloudFront locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Africa has been a big source of interest for major tech companies, with a wealth of opportunities to be had from its generally weak server infrastructure. Last year, Microsoft became the first major cloud provider to open a data center in South Africa, while Facebook and Google have been racing to improve connectivity in the region. This activity is good news for businesses and citizens alike, who have until now battled with sub-par connections — and it’ll be particularly welcomed by gamers, who have traditionally had to rely on servers from further afield, facing huge pings and tedious lag spikes when playing online.