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Technology South Africa

#ATW24: Minister Gungubele calls for connectivity and inclusion

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Mondli Gungubele used his keynote on the opening day of Africa Tech Week to highlight government’s commitment to digital transformation and the significant strides made towards achieving digital inclusion and digitisation. With a focus on economic growth and societal development, the South African government is enhancing public access to connectivity through various initiatives.
Minister Mondli Gungubele delivered a South Africa technology history lesson in his Africa Tech Week keynote.
Minister Mondli Gungubele delivered a South Africa technology history lesson in his Africa Tech Week keynote.

Government’s efforts include the expansion of Wi-Fi networks, reduction of data costs, and training to leverage evolving technology and the Internet of Things. Last year government welcomed the launch of a project that has connected 1,600 households and enabled at least 6,000 community members to access broadband services in KwaZulu-Natal.

“If you look at the informal settlements you go and ask those people ‘why would you come from beautiful land in Nkandla and put a shack up in a city?’” Gungubele said. “People are not setting up shacks out of excitement, they want to be close to opportunities.”

He emphasised expanding digital access as a critical element for solving many of the socioeconomic challenges the country faces.

“Internet penetration improved from 21.1% in 2011 to 79% in 2022. We are ahead of the NDP because it has given us a target of 80% by 2030,” he explained.

Skills gap

Gungubele, who is a former teacher, also touched on the challenges created by this expansion and the digital skills shortage on the side of workers for the new jobs as well as teachers to impart the knowledge.

He used the natural proficiency of the younger generation with technology to frame the need for policies that keep pace with their understanding.

The risk, he noted, is that without adapting to the rapid technological advancements, the older generation risks becoming irrelevant to the youth.

Gungubele stressed the importance of sustainable development through digital transformation, which is transforming interactions between citizens, governments, and businesses, and offering more opportunities for the economy.

“South Africa’s digital transformation journey is well underway, with a clear vision for a connected and inclusive future,” said Gungubele.

“The government’s dedication to digital skills development and infrastructure expansion is paving the way for a more prosperous and digitally empowered society.”

About Lindsey Schutters

Lindsey is the editor for ICT, Construction&Engineering and Energy&Mining at Bizcommunity
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