AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS expands to South Africa, deepening roots in public sector

AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region

In April, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region. AWS has a long history in South Africa and numerous public sector organizations in the region are already spearheading technological innovations in the cloud.

AWS first established its presence in South Africa in Cape Town in 2004. AWS built many pioneering networking technologies, our next-generation software for customer support, and the technology behind our compute service Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), in the region.

The recent launch of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region is a continuation of investment to support the growth of sub-Saharan Africa. The new infrastructure Region brings advanced and secure cloud technologies that open up opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation in the public sector.

From healthcare to education, these four public sector organizations are leading innovation in the public sector:

Hyrax Biosciences enables access to and reduces the cost of genetic diagnostics. Recently, Hyrax Biosciences released an accessible software tool to detect mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. The tool runs on the AWS Cloud on Hyrax’s genomics platform, called Exatype, which is used worldwide in efforts to track the evolution of viruses as they spread.

Tshwane University of Technology Enterprise Holding (TUTEH) began migrating workloads to AWS more than two years ago. This year, the university built a serverless cloud platform solution named T-RES in only 20 days. The solution connects students with verified and authorised property owners. It addresses student accommodation needs and helps verified and approved property owners fully allocate their residences, while alleviating administrative burden.

The South African government’s Department of Social Development and Social Services Agency (SASSA) provides COVID-19 social relief for distress grants to over 15 million South Africans who are unemployed and in need of financial support. In May 2020, AWS Partner Synthesis developed a way to integrate Amazon Lambda and Amazon Lex on the GovChat platform, which connects 50 million citizens to 10,000 South African government representatives and over 60,000 public facilities. It transfers and verifies data securely and in real-time in a way that integrates with SASSA’s existing internal approval and disbursement infrastructure for these grant payments.

Finally, Sentech provides the national broadcasting signal distribution (BSD) and telecommunications for all South African television and radio stations. AWS gives them the flexibility to experiment and deliver solutions, drastically reducing the cost of deploying over-the-top (OTT) and video on demand (VOD) channels. Using the AWS Cloud allows them to spend less than 10 percent of what they would normally spend on experimentation. The time to spin up a channel would ordinarily take a few months of planning, but with cloud infrastructure they are able to do it in a few hours. Sentech live-streamed religious services for 14 religious channels across the country during the Easter weekend. They said, “The new AWS Region here will help us to utilize innovative technologies and distribute content globally, faster and more efficiently.

Learn more about the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region.

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).