Worldwide retail giant Amazon is on a mission to expand its global reach with a new office setup in South Africa.
According to Face2Face Africa, Amazon’s U.S. company has announced plans to open up a new base of operations and break ground with a real estate investment priced at nearly $300 million. The office will be located at a new development in River Club, described as a prime section of Cape Town.
“US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent,” Cape Town 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.”
The mayor revealed that the new development intends to design a 150,000 square meter mixed-use space across two precincts, with 31,900 square meters reserved for residential purposes.
The entire new development is predicted to create upwards of 19,000 direct and indirect jobs in the African country.
“With Amazon’s headquarters, we can expect many more thousands of jobs for Capetonians,” James Vos — 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. [This move] positions Cape Town as a destination of choice for IT advancement.”
He also adds that new office of operations will “attract other tech companies to Cape Town, the tech capital of Africa,” which reportedly employs more than 40,000 people in the IT sector.
Amazon first broke ground in South Africa back in 2004 after the company opened its first development center in Cape Town for Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has since increased its presence in the South African nation by opening additional offices, Face2Face Africa reports.
Amazon’s new office development comes just years after many legal challenges, including environmental activists and heritage protection organizations that protested against the project saying that it, “ransacks the local ecosystem and dishonors a sacred heritage site of the indigenous Khoi people, who settled on the land when they were driven from another area by Dutch settlers,” according to African Business.
Those same activists also argued the project could potentially block the valley, worsen flooding, climate change and drought.
As a response to the cultural and environmental issues voices, Mayor Plato issued a statement saying, “The City has carefully and thoroughly considered all of the submissions and concerns during the appeal process,” as reported by Business Insider South Africa.
“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 revitalize the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of COVID-19,” he adds.
Since South Africa is one of the many countries in the world that was hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the new move from Amazon is expected to help aid in the country’s economic recovery plan.