Sadc ministers agree to share skills, tech

SADC Information Communication Technology Ministers yesterday met in Cape Town, South Africa where they agreed on the need for sharing skills, infrastructure and technology for the attainment of Africa’s digital economy.

Present at the Ministerial Forum 2023 powered by Huawei and hosted by the South African Department of Communication and Digital Technologies in Cape Town were Zimbabwe’s Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Tatenda Mavetera; Botswana Communication, Knowledge and Technology Minister Thulagano Segokgo; Tanzania Information Communication Technology Minister Moses Nape; and South Africa Department of Communication and Digital Technologies Deputy Minister Philly Mapulane.

Minister Mavetera said there was need for Africa to come up with policies that promoted regional collaboration.

“The greatest collaboration we need is for us coming up with sound policies,” she said. 

“It’s not a secret that in China you realise that they have the cheapest labour, so why can’t we not go there and seek collaboration, so that we can have some skills transfer.”

Minister Mavetera said African countries should share technologies.

“If Botswana has some certain devices, they bring us those and we try to assemble in Zimbabwe, that collaboration is also important,” she said.

“I also feel that there is need for us to look at technology hubs. I saw it in Rwanda recently, there is a technology hub where they have collaboration with all countries. Any country can come in to collaborate. I think this is also important for us to have these technology hubs where we can learn from each other.

“For us as Zimbabwe, we have an infrastructure policy. All the telecommunications operators share infrastructure. Let’s get together. We all know we are not in competition and we all need to learn from each other.”

Minister Mavetera said African countries should not be in competition when it comes to advancing technologies.

“If Tanzania says they have an ICT hub, as Zimbabwe we need to go there and learn because we are not in a competition,” she said.

Minister Nape said the region could make a huge stride if it was dedicated to collaboration.

“We can achieve a lot if we find a way of collaborating with the public sector, private sector and other stakeholders to make sure we bring the forces together,” she said.

“In Tanzania, we are neighbours of about nine countries, let’s share and see how we can work together, face the challenges together, share experiences together and even bring resources together. Those little resources we have, if we can bring them together we can achieve a lot. It is important.” 

Minister Segokgo said sometimes as SADC, they failed to achieve set goals due to failure to put mechanisms in place.

“When we set these goals we must set our ways to achieve them,” said the Batswana Minister. 

“So, there is a great disappointment as a region that we are not there to support our key goals. This is very key because as a region we need to connect, build infrastructure that connects us collectively and build this one digital market. It is very key.” 

Mr Mapulane said all should be open to collaboration.

“I honestly concur with colleagues here that we need to collaborate,” he said. He condemned the spirit of individualism among the African countries, saying it was being propagated by former colonialists.

“One the things that I feel we need to defeat and disrupt is the colonialist development pattern both in the SADC region and continent,” said Mr Mapulane. 

“We need to share knowledge and even resources that the SADC region has.”

The Ministerial Forum 2023, which was being held under the theme Building Future Oriented Digital Infrastructure for Africa, was supported by Huawei.

At the forum, Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Region president Leo Chen emphasised the need for Africa to upgrade its connectivity in line with growing modern trends.

The Ministerial Forum 2023 marked the beginning of Africa Tech Festival which is the continent’s largest and most influential tech event that combines AfricaCom and AfricaTech and brings together over 15 000 stakeholders. 

The Africa Tech Festival started yesterday and ends on Thursday.


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