SA participates in BRICS ICT Ministers Meeting

By – SAnews.gov.za

Minister of Telecommunication and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, is leading the South African delegation to the Third BRICS ICT Ministers Meeting taking place in Hangzhou, China.

“One of our key area of success at this meeting is that our Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) have been very active in selling their solutions and seeking partnerships with companies in other BRICS countries. As BRICS Ministers, we have declared that we need to improve cooperation on the digital economy value chain, including e-Commerce and cybersecurity,” Minister Cwele said.

The SA delegation consists of senior government officials, leaders of State-owned companies and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

The meeting takes forward the commitments made by the leaders of BRICS countries on matters relating to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

“One of our key area of success at this meeting is that our SMMEs have been very active in selling their solutions and seeking partnerships with companies in other BRICS countries.

He said the BRICS Ministers reiterated a need for cooperation on infrastructure, including the BRICS Cable that will connect the BRICS countries through an undersea cable.

“We also need to cooperate in innovation in areas such as applications, equipment manufacturing and operating systems to reduce our dependency on global monopolies that dominate these area.

“We need to enable BRICS countries to develop their own technologies, driven by SMMEs, which can be sold within the greater market of BRICS countries. Importantly, we need to facilitate the creation of an inclusive society by through the use of technology,” said Minister Cwele.

BRICS Ministers view ICTs as an enabler for driving innovation and development, contributing to GDP and the economy, empowering citizens and fostering security.

The Department of Telecommunication and Postal Services said the South African Government has placed ICT innovation and technology change at the heart of the economic development strategy.

“It has prioritized access to quality, affordable and safe ubiquitous high-speed broadband by 2020 to all South Africans. One such initiative is the Internet for All programme, in partnership with the World Economic Forum on Africa and some local operators. The programme aims to connect 22 million South Africans currently offline, most of whom are in rural and underserved areas,” the department said.

Minister Cwele invited BRICS counterparts to partner with South Africans in rolling out the programme through connectivity; ensuring affordable services and handset devices; promoting e-skills and developing local content applications to increase uptake and usage.