[Update] Five key announcements from the AWS Summit Cape Town 2018

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Update (12 July 2018): This story has been updated to include additional information about AWS’ CloudFront Edge location, as well as their partnerships with local IT skills development initiatives.


The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) played host to the third annual AWS Summit Cape Town 2018 today, with builders, developers, customers and companies across the African continent descending on the City Bowl to find out more about Amazon’s cloud-based services and solutions.

The tech giant also used the Summit to announce several region-specific plans it’s putting into place. Here are five of the most significant.

Banner year driven by builders

If you have shares in AWS, 2018 is already shaping up to be a banner year. According to the company, Q1 of 2018 saw AWS achieve a year-on-year growth of 49 percent and a substantial revenue run rate of $22 billion.

AWS’ vice president for Worldwide Sales and Business Development, Mike Clayville was quick to heap praise on the local community of builders for helping with the company’s success.

For those unfamiliar, AWS classifies a builder as anyone who uses data in order to create solutions for their business, which means most people in an organisation have the potential to be builders in the eyes of Amazon.

Clayville also noted that the local builder community is one of the best he’s seen, which leads us to the second key announcement.

Confirmation of regional investments

While not mentioning any precise figures, Clayville has confirmed that AWS will be doubling down on its investment in the region. The company is aiming to increase its local presence, having already established offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

With a number of established customers locally, totalling 30-plus, the news that AWS is investing even more into the Sub-Saharan region can only be a good thing.

CloudFront Edge location in Cape Town

One of the biggest announcements on the day is the development of a CloudFront Edge location in Cape Town.

Now Cape Town joins 58 other cities globally where a CloudFront Edge Content Delivery Network (CDN) is present.

AWS says the location, which is currently up and running, can reduce latency by as much as a 75% in certain cases.

AWS also promises that the CloudFront Edge’s presence will be a boon for local companies.

One such example is Aerobotics, also based in Cape Town, which is able to offer on-demand drone and satellite analytics for healthier farming.

More female-focused initiatives

As for skills development, AWS is tackling this on two fronts.

The first is a handful of partnerships with female-focused coding and tech initiatives.

These include Girl Code, Code 4 CT and Django Girls.

AWS’ partnership with Girl Code run a competition to empower 30 local ICT SMMEs, also making them a part of the CloudStart program that will tools and training to get stared with AWS Cloud.

Training the next generation of data scientists

The other way AWS wants to help bridge the IT skills gap is via its partnership with the Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA).

The EDSA recently announced that it’s accepting applications for up to 400 internship spots in its free 12-month Data Science Programme.

AWS’ other IT skills development initiatives will see the company’s Academy is teaming up with tertiary institutions like University of Johannesburg and University of Cape Town to deliver ready-to-teach courses focused on cloud technology and cloud computing skills.

More to come?

The AWS Summit has grown from a few hundred attendees to 2 600 in the space of three years, showing that there is indeed a demand and need for the company’s cloud-based solutions and services locally. As such, we’re expecting next year’s Summit to pull in even more numbers.


Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.