After a fruitful opening of ICT Indaba 2012 in South Africa, what has been noticeable is the significant deliberations around policies that Africa needs to implement in order to shift the continent towards Knowledge-Based Economy.
This will see to the transformation and upliftment of the continent as a hub driven by knowledge and knowledge enabling technologies, with the driving factors being knowledge engineering and effective management of information to produce economic returns and employment opportunities.
Support of organization like the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which has been enabling communications and facilitating technological solutions to global citizens since 1865 brings hope for international collaborations in Africa’s digital migration. “These tools have changed and saved lives in the process,” said Desire Karyabwite of the Telecommunication Development Bureau at ITU.
Karyabwite emphasised how E-Government and E-Education would improve customer services in Africa. “Alongside the Millennium Development Goals, there is a need to make broadband a global phenomenon. By 2015, all countries should have a broadband plan or strategy, and in their universal or service definitions,” he said.
Put to the table in this session were critical reflection points that Africa has to unpack in the face of the global expansion of the ICT industry.
Korea’s Communication Commissioner for, Mr. Choong Seek Kim, shared the direction Korea has taken in terms of ICT Policies that better Koreans’ lives.
“The world interacts through connectivity, and with the current trend, ICT users and data are expected to explode over the years,” elaborated Choong, sharing Korea’s ICT Policy direction which seeks to advance network infrastructure, strengthen innovative research and development, whilst enhancing international cooperation.
MTN Managing Director Mr. Karel Pienaar explained the importance of a knowledge-based economy, and how mobile communication remains a key driver for organic growth in the ICT markets. “We must all remember that ICT Indaba is a platform for debate. This is where issues are brought forward, and questions are asked. We focus on how we are going to do this and what are the plans,’ said Pienaar.
As one of the principal team-leader at MTN, which is also a key sponsor of the ICT Indaba 2012, Pienaar complemented his speech with key trends that he believes are the main drivers for Africa in the process of ‘leap-frogging into the ICTs age. “Some of these are the fact that Africa has a larger younger and affluent population; a broad base of commodity wealth and the fact that Africa has a lot of resources which brings the potential for the expansion of the financial sector,” concluded Pienaar.