CAPE TOWN – Telecommunication and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele has said the International Telecom World Conference would focus on empowering African small, micro- and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
Cwele briefed the media on Friday, ahead of the conference which is expected to attract 7 000 delegates and exhibitors from across the continent.
Cwele said: “During this conference, entrepreneurs from South Africa and the continent will having a glorious opportunity to showcase their best innovations as the continent seeks to migrate from being just consumers to producers of ICT.
“Working with our partners, we are providing support for over 50 SMMEs to exhibit at the conference. In additional other multinational companies will bring SMMEs from Africa and the rest of the world,” said Cele.
He said the conference creates an opportunity for the country to attract new investment into the country and reach President Cyril Ramaphosa’s target of $100 billion (R1.5 trillion) investment over the next five years.
During his maiden State-of-the-Nation Address (Sona), Ramaphosa vowed that he would establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, which will include the private sector and civil society, to place the country in a better position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology.
South Africa will be the first African country to host the conference in Durban between 10-13 September.
The conference will also bring together governemnt leaders, policymakers, legislators and entrepreneurs to explore challenges, partnerships, solutions and identify investment opportunities.
Cwele said the country would be afforded an opportunity to test its capabilities as it prepares for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“During this conference, South African entrepreneurs will have a glorious opportunity to showcase their best innovations as the continent seeks to migrate from being just consumers to producers of ICTs.
He said the high cost of roaming in the Southern African Development Community region will also be addressed at the conference.