With Microsoft set to launch its Azure data centres in South Africa before the end of this year we hoped that this would inspire Amazon and Google to follow suit.

Today, Amazon has made half of that wish come true with the announcement that Amazon Web Services (AWS) would open a data centre in Cape Town, South Africa by 2020.

The AWS Africa infrastructure region – as it will be called – will consist of three Availability Zones. An Availability Zone is connected to an infrastructure region with low latency, high throughput and redundant networking. There’s no word yet on where these Zones will be located but our best guess is Durban, Johannesburg and perhaps Bloemfontein.

“Having built the original version of Amazon EC2 in our Cape Town development center 14 years ago, and with thousands of African companies using AWS for years, we’ve been able to witness first-hand the technical talent and potential in Africa,” AWS chief executive officer Andy Jassy said in a press statement.

A number of companies, both enterprise and startups, are already making use of the AWS platform but having a data centre locally changes the game somewhat. This is because latency is reduced so workloads run more efficiently and more than that, a firm’s data doesn’t need to leave the country which means that it can more easily comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act.

“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 our cloud consumption,” chief information officer at Absa, Andy Baker said.

“We no longer deploy bespoke hardware, SAN storage, or high-cost proprietary database solutions. Instead, our new tech stack utilizes low cost, fully automated, logically partitioned, open source software, with real-time security and application monitoring. AWS’s track record of delivering enterprise ready and South African regulator-approved services to Absa has given us confidence to deploy services aimed at further reducing our operational costs and improving our cyber risk profile,” Baker added.

Firms interested in signing up for and utilising AWS ahead of the local launch can head to the official website for more information.