Digital economy boost as SA exceeds investment target

SOUTH Africa has exceeded its investment targets by 25 percent, after its investment drive secured pledges of over R1,5 trillion (US$81, 976 billion). This exceeds the target of R1,2 trillion the government set in 2018.

The latest pledges were made last week at the fifth South Africa Investment Conference, which was held in Johannesburg. President Cyrila Ramaphosa believes the pledges provided a huge boost to
the country’s digital economy.

“In addition to significant investment commitments in data and telecommunications infrastructure, there were also announcements about investments in the mining, manufacturing, energy, property, logistics
and food and beverages sectors,” he said.

Ramaphosa made the sentiments in his weekly letter. The president said while all these investments contribute to economic growth and job creation, the investments in the digital economy will, in
addition, propel the country into a new era of innovation and progress.

“Not only is the digital economy important for growth, but it is also vital to the provision of key services such as education, social services and health care.

The continent’s most diversified economy, South Africa already has among the highest rates of internet penetration in Africa. According to Statistics South Africa’s 2021 General Household Survey, more than three quarters of households have internet access, 97 percent of all households have at least one mobile phone, and most people use mobile phones to get online.

This includes nearly 60 per cent of rural households. Since the first Investment Conference in 2018, investments in the digital economy have grown exponentially. Over the past five years, Ramaphosa said the total investment commitments of R200 billion had been secured in the country’s telecommunications network by Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Rain and Liquid Telecom.

“Faster fibre and 5G rollout makes our economy more competitive as more connectivity solutions help businesses emerge and expand,” Ramaphosa said.

Google last year launched the Equiano subsea cable announced at the third Investment Conference in 2020. Amazon Web Services, Teraco and Dimension Data have made investment commitments of R21 billion in the past five years. Amazon Web Services plans to grow its investment with a further R30 billion in the next six years.

In 2021 Vantage Data Centers, a US-based company, announced plans to build its first African campus in Johannesburg. Two weeks ago, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies
published the Rapid Deployment Policy, set to accelerate the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.

The National Skills Fund will soon launch a new model for demand-led skills development, which will provide R800 million to fund training for unemployed young people in digital skills.

– CAJ News



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