U.S. software giant Amazon wants Kenya to serve as its East African hub with a new cloud computing unit scheduled to open there in the first quarter of 2020.
Amazon’s data centers and software allow data to be stored and accessed over the internet rather than on a particular computer hard drive. Applications for Africans span across entrepreneurship, education, and government.
Kenyan businesses will be able to leverage the cloud services to take advantage of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and mobile services to stimulate innovation, Amazon says.
Amazon’s cloud services are expected to be available to Kenyan companies in 2020.
Teresa Carlson, Amazon Web Services vice president for global public sector, met with Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta in November 2019 ahead of the launch announcement.
“Innovative Kenyan startups, enterprises and public sector customers are adopting Amazon Web Services at a rapid pace and we look forward to continuing to support this growth. This reflects our ongoing commitment to sub-Saharan Africa, with Kenya serving as a key hub in the East African region,” Carlson said, according to BusinessDailyAfrica.
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Kenyatta said he is hoping that the availability of Amazon Web Services will provide business opportunities and create jobs in the digital sector.
Amazon began constructing two Azure cloud data centers in South Africa in 2017, the first sign of the company’s interest in the region.
The two new Amazon data centers are expected to be launched in South Africa in early 2020, with the goal of speeding up cloud services and reducing costs for Amazon’s local corporate clients, according to BusinessInsider.
Amazon’s cloud computing rival Microsoft has also invested heavily in Africa in recent years.
In March 2019, Microsoft launched the first enterprise-grade data centers in Africa in Johannesburg and Cape Town, becoming the first global cloud provider to deliver hyper-scale cloud services from data centers located in Africa.
In May 2019, Microsoft announced an additional $100 million investment within five years towards tech development hubs and job creation for Kenya and Nigeria.
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