SA Minister Urges Synergy on Digital Economy

Telecom

In a bid to improve internet facilities in Africa, South Africa’s Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has said African continent believes the internet governance should be multilateral, democratic and involve all governments and relevant stakeholders.

‎Governments are critical in policy development while other role players such as academics, NGOs and ICT companies may assist with the technical aspect and advise on how best to expedite development and deployment of ICTs.

Cwele, in his keynote address at the 5th African Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Durban on Monday said, “This meeting aims to discuss key elements around the internet and internet governance as we prepare to finalise continental positions ahead of the December 2016 IGF in Mexico.

“We as the African continent believes the internet governance should be multilateral, democratic and involve all governments and relevant stakeholders such and academics, NGOs and ICT companies in their respective roles. Governments are critical in policy development while other role player may assist with technical aspect and advice on how best to expedite development and deployment of ICTs.”

The IGF is a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together people to discuss technical and public policy issues relating to the internet and looks at creating an inclusive and sustainable digital economy.

He however said that policy issues must include: How to ensure everyone participates in the on-line economy; Intellectual property matters; Cyber-security; Privacy online; and how key technical issues such as Domain Names and IP Addresses make internet governance possible.

“The AU infrastructure projects, particularly those of power and internet connectivity, are crucial for this continent to leapfrog in development to be on par with the developed world. It was our global icon, former President Nelson Mandela, who in 1999, reminded us that “although much is being done in attempting to bridge the gap between the information haves and the information have-nots, the task remains daunting. Indeed, it is sobering to consider the information revolution from the point of view of global development and its capacity help raise the quality of life. We have to say that our collective vision is in danger of failing where it counts most, namely the goal of universal access to basic telecommunication services.”

“As a continent we must pay particular attention to infrastructure access, affordability and skilling of all our citizens to take advantage of the internet and internet economy value chain. We must work with the private sector and other role players to close the emerging digital divide within and across our nations. We must focus on adding value to and empowering our citizen to enter into the knowledge economy and cope with the unavoidable 4th Industrial Revolution,” he said.

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