The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele has attended the Smart Africa Alliance board meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, as part of his engagements at the Transform Africa Summit.
His attendance of the board meeting follows Cabinet approval that South Africa joins the Smart Africa Alliance, which is a collaboration between African governments to develop relevant solutions and share resources to address the development challenges facing the continent. The Alliance places Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at the centre of meeting the developmental goals of Agenda 2063.
The board meeting is the highest decision making platform of the Alliance. Minister Cwele was accompanied by three Mayors.
South Africa will champion localisation and skills development for digital Africa in the Smart Africa Alliance. The aims are to;
Drive industrialisation through national infrastructure plans,
Stimulate demand for locally produced electronics,
Boost the capacity and growth of local and indigenous Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMMEs),
Build relevant and resilient infrastructure to foster innovation,
And promote private-public partnerships for ICT innovation throughout the continent.
"The Smart Africa Alliance will help African countries to digitise the continent and use ICTs to quickly catch up and be competitive with developed nations. The South Africa Government has decided that we should join the Smart Africa Alliance to contribute in the growth and integration of the continent," said Minister Cwele.
He said manufacturing the ICT devices and gadgets on the continent will help to bring down the costs of digitising Africa. Another factor that he identified as key in the digitising the continent is the building basic and high end ICT skills to give Africans confidence in using ICT and also developing applications that solve African problems.
The Summit launched the Smart Cities master plan which is a blueprint for the development of smart cities on the continent. The Summit views cities as engines of economic growth and the masterplan seeks to maximise this potential by using ICTs to improve the development and management of transport systems, energy efficiency, water, sanitation, the environment, and the provision of online services to support government and business services.
Source: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services