Foreword by Communications Minister Honourable Ms. Dina Pule

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As the Ministry of Communications, we are committed to maximize the use of ICT to improve the quality of lives of South Africans and fellow Africans across the continent. We are equally committed to ensure that the ICT sector plays the role of primary enablers of economic growth and job creation. It is with this in mind that I take pleasure in inviting you, our compatriots across the Diaspora, to our country, to partner with the ministry, the ICT industry, labour and civil society as we enter into a bold partnership that seeks to shape the development of the continent. Africa is ready to be the next boom market for the ICT industry. South Africa is ready to host the ICT INDABA 2012 in June. The International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) endorsement gives the ICT INDABA 2012 a deserved and truly global feel. Investors can tap into the continent’s vast potential through the roll-out of communications infrastructure. The roll-out of the infrastructure is also an avenue through which many of the continent’s people can be pulled out of the yoke of poverty. The recent ITU’s World Radiocommunication Congress has given yet another opportunity for countries, particularly in our, Region 1, to license frequency spectrum for new services. We are excited about the opportunities for growth and development of our local and international ICT markets. It is clear that mobile services will continue to lead the boom and provide convenient ways of accessing ICT services. The investment in infrastructure can unlock the electronics components manufacturing industry on the continent. It can also enable larger numbers of people to access communications services, thereby becoming consumers. Already, South Africa’s ICT industry is the twentieth-largest in the world, accounting for 0.5% of the worldwide ICT revenue. It is noted for its vibrancy and the high quality of its work, so we have the benefit of a very viable and competent partner. Africa’s population is estimated to be nearly one billion people, making the continent one of the most significant markets, especially because it has low levels of telecommunications penetration. By demonstrating that we understand how to use ICT effectively and build the necessary infrastructure, we will play an important role in attracting the much-needed foreign direct investment. Public-private partnerships remain a key strategy to drive the improvement of public access to ICT. Equally important is the political will that permeates the continent with the leaders focusing their energies on cooperating to achieve great development dividends. The continent is emboldened by the words of President Jacob Zuma, who was appointed by the African Union (AU), to head infrastructure development on the continent. This is what he says: “We have the enormous task of promoting tangible action, and have to mobilize resources for the development of infrastructure in the continent. The time has come to move beyond conceptualization to concrete projects.” Fellow South Africans, Africans and our friends from around the globe, it is my humble desire that we use the opportunity afforded by the International Africa ICT Indaba to respond to this challenge from President Zuma, and by extension the AU. We are, indeed, required to act together as partners to take into account that the populace expects us to act with speed to deliver services through technology.

– By ICT Indaba official website.