Amazon is gearing up to open its new African base of operations in South Africa.
According to Business Insider, the Cape Town-based investment is said to be worth nearly $300 million.
“US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent,” the city’s mayor, Dan Plato, said in a statement. “The development is envisaged to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.”
Amazon’s first opened a development center in Cape Town back in 2014, where the company focused on cultivating Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, a virtual private server.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) opened offices in Johannesburg in 2015 before moving to a more extensive base in Cape Town three years later.
The new development will boast 60,000 square meters of office space as well as several shops, a 200-room hotel, a gym, restaurants, and conference facilities.
The entire development is projected to create as many as 19,000 direct and indirect jobs. “With Amazon’s headquarters, with can expect many more thousands of jobs for Capetonians,” James Vos, who is the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town, told Cape Talk.
“Amazon already services North America, the UK, and Germany from Cape Town… We expect lots of additional jobs,” he added. “It positions Cape Town as a destination of choice for IT advancement.”
Amazon’s South African career portal currently has 158 jobs listed, most of which are full-time and based in Cape Town.
The development has faced opposition from environmental activists who say the project “ransacks the local ecosystem,” and “dishonors a sacred heritage site of the indigenous Khoi people.” The Khoi settled on the land after being forced out from another area by Dutch settlers.
The City of Cape Town disputed the claims, adding that the project was “sustainable” and “balances ecological conservation and urban development.”
Authorities asserted that the development will include an indigenous garden, cultural, heritage and media center for the Khoi people, a “heritage-eco trail” and a garden amphitheater for the Khoi community.
“The planned mixed-use development will be a significant boost to the economy and the people of Cape Town in the aftermath of the national Covid-19 lockdown,” said Plato. “The city has carefully and thoroughly considered all of the submissions and concerns during the appeal process. We are acutely aware of the need to balance investment and job creation, along with heritage and planning considerations.
“It is clear that this development offers many economic, social and environmental benefits for the area. We are committed to driving investment to revitalise the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of Covid-19,” he concluded.