Building a robust ICT infrastructure is the first step to realising effective economic transformation.

Digitisation must be the engine for South Africa’s future development, underpinned by a robust ICT policy framework. A firm commitment to investment from government and the private sector is vital.

That’s the message that was delivered by the global ICT solutions provider at the Vision 2030 Summit being held in Johannesburg. The conference is a private/public meet-up, to drive economic acceleration and transformation, as set out in South Africa’s National Development Plan.

Huawei Global Connectivity Index

Huawei’s keynote speaker Leonard Chang, the MD of Corp Industry Development Marketing, outlined key findings of Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index. The GCI reflects the progress of 50 countries regarding digital transformation. He says Huawei’s research shows that every additional US$1 invested in ICT Infrastructure over time can yield up to US$5 in GDP growth by 2025.

South Africa ranked at 31 in the GCI and is the only African country to be included in the ‘Adopters’ category. These are countries with an average GDP per capita of US$15,000 and who are focused on increasing ICT demand to facilitate industry digitisation and high-quality economic growth.

Mr Chang said, “We can see opportunities for South Africa to grow further in the GCI with more investment in the broadband roll-out, building of data centres and developing cloud services. This will leapfrog the country’s digitisation goals.”

“Having a Vision 2030 plan is a great start, but a vision is not enough, we need an action plan with achievable targets. South Africa has to move faster to close the digital divide. Huawei believes that Connectivity is not just a Human Right, it is an economic growth right!” said Mr Chang.

Huawei shared its global experience and expertise in technologies like Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), and how this presents South Africa with opportunities to develop vertical industries in fields like Education, Health, Public Safety and e-Commerce.

Huawei SA CEO Steven Wu said, “Huawei believes ICT should be a national priority strategy, with more investment and a supportive policy framework for ICT development. We’d also like to see more swift progress in important projects like SA Connect and Safe Cities.

Steven Wu CEO Huawei SA

Deputy Minister in the Dept. of Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams who also addressed delegates spoke about department’s ‘Internet for All Programme’, which is aimed at inclusive economic growth. Ms Ndabeni-Abrahams says with 22 million South Africans are still not connected to the internet. Hence government’s ICT rollout is crucial. She says collaborating with companies like Huawei is important to achieve the department’s goals.

Huawei in South Africa

Huawei is heavily committed to the digitisation of South Africa’s economy, and the company is a key service provider to all local telecoms companies. Huawei works with government and private enterprises’ to develop smart, efficient business solutions to improve the lives of South Africans.

Huawei recently signed a partnership with electricity utility Eskom to build a smart grid which will be more effective, cost effective, stable and reliable. Its wireless communications network for the country’s passenger rail network PRASA has come on stream and is expected to improve safety and efficiency for the country’s millions of train commuters.

Huawei has also set up an Open Lab in Johannesburg, where it will work with partners and customers to develop new solutions and joint innovations. Its other Open Lab collaborations around the world have resulted in groundbreaking solutions being implemented in various sectors from emergency services to e-commerce.

For More information on the Huawei Global Connectivity Index