The National Treasury has identified digital infrastructure as the backbone for information and communications technology (ICT) services and a key factor in supporting economic growth.
The tech sector and planned projects also have the potential to create thousands of jobs in the country, Treasury said in its 2021 budget review.
“The digital sector includes the Space Infrastructure Hub, the digitisation of government records and SA Connect Phase 1.
“The strategic projects could create more than 10,000 job opportunities for unemployed graduates.
“A significant amount of work is required to advance these projects, as many of them are still in the pre-feasibility and feasibility stages of development.”
Treasury said that the Space Infrastructure Hub is a South African National Space Agency programme that aims to use space data as a tool for national development and supporting commercial uses in areas such as remote sensing, navigation and space sciences.
“The hub will allow for the development of satellite infrastructure, satellite-based augmentation systems and earth observation satellites,” it said.
Announced in June 2020 alongside another infrastructure projects, the Space Infrastructure Hub will allow for the development of satellite infrastructure, satellite-based augmentation systems, and earth observation satellites.
“Domestic access to this type of infrastructure will reduce South Africa’s reliance on other countries for the type of information that these satellites can make available and is expected to reduce the time frames for collecting necessary data.
“It will provide information that might be used to develop products and services that can allow targeted responses to the socio-economic and infrastructure challenges South Africa must face.”
Government said that the proposed investment value of the project is R3.1 billion and the investment period is three years.
Over the three year period, the investment will on average support 4,695 jobs per year, of which a quarter will be in the informal economy, it said.
“In the first year of investment, the Space Infrastructure hubs will sustain 1,946 direct employment opportunities, 675 jobs along the value chain and a further 2,250 jobs through spending of these wages.”