Information and communications technology Financial services is leading the way in ICT investment.
he biggest investors in new technology are banks and other players in the financial sector, where technology is rapidly lowering the barriers to entry for new businesses. This trend is illustrated by the rapid development of new exchanges which are based on sophisticated ICT hardware and software. One of the provincial government’s stated goals is to get several ICT initiatives to work together. If the work of the Innovation Hub, several Ekasi laboratories, the Tshimologong precinct, universities and research institutes could be integrated, a more powerful ecosystem would be the result. A High-Tech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is another idea that is being pursued. Making broadband connectivity and free Wi-Fi available to poor households in Actonville Primary School in Benoni has received a donation of laptops from data protection and the province is another management company Commvault. task. Gauteng’s Premier will appoint a Digital Transformation Advisory Panel to assist in driving these initiatives. Various large spatial plans for the province include an element whereby these new cities or settlements will be built as “smart cities”. Johannesburg is now one of two South African cities to host a Microsoft Azure data centre. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) estimates that spending on cloud services in South Africa will reach R11.5-billion by 2022, nearly three times its level in 2017 (Tech Central). This trend could generate more than 100 000 new jobs. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria hosts a new body aimed at preparing South Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the South African Affiliate Centre of the World Economic Forum. With several global companies choosing to station their South African headquarters in Gauteng, the province is well
ONLINE RESOURCES eKasiLabs: www.theinnovationhub.com Independent Communications Authority: www.icasa.org.za Technology Innovation Agency: www.tia.org.za
GAUTENG BUSINESS 2020/21
SECTOR INSIGHT Smart cities are planned. connected. More than 1 500 kilometres of network fibre has been connected throughout the province, with 1 066 sites such as schools, health facilities, libraries and community centres giving community members and entrepreneurs the chance to be connect with the digital world. A Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) subsidiary, the Innovation Hub, has a programme called eKasiLabs which supports entrepreneurs and young people with good business ideas. The “ Tshepo 1 Million” campaign links the provincial government with the successful Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and more than 40 large companies. Both Johannesburg and Tshwane have free Wifi networks with Tshwane’s covering 780 zones in places such as libraries, educational institutions and clinics. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) runs the SoftstartBTI ICT incubator in Midrand and Tuksnovation, a high-tech incubator, at Pretoria University. Private mobile communications company Vodacom has pledged to spend R50-billion on network infrastructure in rural areas. ■