At AWS, the mission of our telecom industry business unit is to help telecom operators across the Middle East and Africa accelerate business value by reinventing communications together, innovating with them and for them, and engaging on their behalf with a broad ecosystem of telco partners and developers to deliver solutions. This enables them to apply the cloud model to the telecom model to benefit from the elasticity, agility, automation, performance and low cost of the AWS cloud. We are working with telecom operators in four strategic focus areas. We help them to: unlock growth by monetizing 5G and diversifying their core telco offering; reimagine their customer experience through leveraging AI/ML for personalized interactions for their end customers; simplify their operations with automation; and cloudify their networks.
Top-line growth and innovation are major priorities for all telecom operators to drive ROI against the significant CAPEX investments for 5G networks. We’re working with telcos to help them diversify their offering and unlock new growth potential in different joint go-to-market motions. One such example is e&. Etisalat UAE announced in 2022 that it is extending its collaboration with AWS to address the growing demand for digitalization in different industries, with use cases focused on enterprises in oil and gas, manufacturing and logistics. Under this collaboration, Etisalat (by e&) will build industry-specific solutions that offer low latency and high-performance computer services leveraging 5G private networks and Mobile Edge Computing. This will be applied across a large set of use cases, like interactive AR/VR, industrial automation, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the edge. It will enable business customers in the UAE to simplify their operations, improve the safety of employees, and increase the resilience of their production and their linked critical business processes. These use cases can be seen in the Etisalat UAE customer innovation center, which works in collaboration with AWS and its developers to provide a hands-on experience for enterprises with Etisalat UAE cloud experts delivering demonstrations, training and education opportunities.
Telecom operators also seek to simplify their operations by transforming their IT infrastructure and increasing automation across their business processes. AWS is working with them to take out complexity from their Enterprise IT, OSS and BSS environments by moving to the cloud and has the experience in accelerating the largest CSPs to the cloud by enabling data center consolidation and modernization of workloads to optimize performance, lower cost and free up capital required to stay competitive. An example of this is the AWS collaboration to help ZainTech establish a Cloud Center of Excellence. The center will train and certify ZainTech's cloud teams and expand on ZainTech's strong business-driven approach to transformation and the company's significant investments in automation and innovation. The companies will work together to develop accelerators for migrating and managing SAP, VMware and other enterprise applications to AWS, helping businesses integrate their existing IT investments.
Beyond the transformation of operations and how to go to market based on cloud, telecom operators and communication service providers look to transform and fundamentally change the consumption of new and innovative services by their end customers. This is illustrated by the example of Safaricom, the largest mobile network operator in Kenya that provides mobile voice, messaging, data and financial services to nearly 40 million customers in Africa. As the purpose of Safaricom is to transform the lives of its customers, it invests in innovation for the social and economic empowerment of society. One of the prime examples is Safaricom’s investment in the agriculture sector transformation through DigiFarm, a free service that offers smallholder farmers convenient, one-stop access to quality farm inputs at discounted prices, input loans, learning content on farming and access to market. In partnership with AWS, Safaricom launched the DigiFarm eMarketplace, built on cloud technology, as a scalable, highly available and secure application platform. It allows farmers to sign up and sell their produce in a frictionless manner using their mobile phones, tablets or computers. DigiFarm is transforming the agricultural sector across all value chains with the vision to leverage technology to enable smallholder farmers to become wealthier, resulting in sustained food security.
These ambitions of telecom operators in the Middle East and Africa region are supported by AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure, the most secure, extensive and reliable cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. With millions of active customers and tens of thousands of partners globally, AWS has the largest and most dynamic ecosystem. Customers across virtually every industry and of every size, including start-ups, enterprises and public sector organizations, are running every imaginable use case on AWS.
Globally, AWS offers over 27 launched regions with 87 availability zones and more than 410 PoPs, complemented by 21 local zones, 28 wavelength zones and 115 Direct Connect locations in 245 countries and territories.
Since August 2022, the new AWS region in the UAE is open for business, complementing AWS overall investment in MEA. The new AWS region is estimated to support an average of nearly 6,000 full-time jobs annually through a planned investment of more than AED 20 billion in the UAE through 2036. The AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will also add an estimated AED 41 billion over the next 15 years to the UAE’s gross domestic product. It is the second region in the Middle East, joining the AWS Middle East (Bahrain) Region. The Middle East (UAE) Region has three availability zones that you can use to reliably spread your applications across multiple data centers. In Africa, AWS has a region in Cape Town, South Africa, serving the African markets. Furthering these investments in cloud availability, AWS has announced plans to build local zones in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya.
With these investments, AWS is putting the tools of innovation into the hands of telecom operators and their end customers.