South Africa Develops National ICT Forum

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Minister Siyabonga Cwele recently announced the launch of a National IC T Forum in South Africa. He recounted the development of the Information Society in the country, but recognized the fact that digital exclusion still remains an issue in the country.

The National ICT forum includes “government, industry and civil society” and works towards digital inclusion. This Forum is intended to encompass all issues related to the ICT revolution and a greater number of stakeholders than previous modes of engagement such as the Broadband Advisory Council. The government will provide approximately one million rand this year to launch the forum.

The Forum is organized into various chambers, one of which relates to ICTs and persons with disabilities and the elderly. Another chamber deals with socio-economic development and works on e-health, e-education, e-agriculture and e-justice. The education and skills development component is also specifically meant to combat the high youth unemployment rate in the country as well as to promote ICT entrepreneurship.

This Forum will also specifically focus on the specific needs of those members of the population living in rural area and will meet twice a year and produce a recommendations report at the end of each meeting regarding implementation of ICT policy.

Minister Cwele is “confident that”, through this Forum, the country “will work towards creating a vibrant knowledge economy and information society….for a prosperous South Africa.”

Source: South African Government, Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media