South Africa hosts ITU’s confab to attract investment

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South Africa is hosting the September
world conference of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to
attract international attention and investment.
 
The Telecom World Conference is holding for the first time in South Africa.
 
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced
earlier in 2018 that the government had set its sights on raising over
R1-trillion in new investments over five years.
 
However, observers say efforts to attract
new local and foreign investment will be hampered by policy
uncertainty, particularly around the issue of expropriation of land
without compensation.
 
The annual ITU conference, taking place in Durban from September 10 to 13 would attract more than 9,000 delegates.
 
Participants would include government and
industry leaders who are expected to explore and identify investment
opportunities and best practices for socioeconomic development through
ICT.
 
Some of the key discussions will be on 5G
for smarter digital development, SA’s department of telecommunications
and postal services says.
 
The conference “is helping us to advance
our ambitions as a country that is open for business by providing a
platform to attract investment while enabling us to play a role in
advancing the developmental agenda at multilateral
organisations”, telecommunications and postal services minister
Siyabonga Cwele said at the weekend.
 
“We want to reiterate that SA is open for
business. We shall use the platform to attract new investment into the
country towards the president’s target of $100bn in investment over the
next five years.
 
“We hope that some of these companies will participate at the investment summit in October.”
 
Ramaphosa said earlier in 2018 that SA would host a major investment summit in October which would aim to raise new investments.
 
Cwele says the conference will give
entrepreneurs from SA and the rest of Africa a chance to showcase
homegrown innovations, “as the continent seeks to migrate from being
just consumers to producers of ICTs”.
 
Working with its partners, the government will provide support to more than 50 small businesses to exhibit at the conference.
 
Multinational companies will also bring
small businesses from Africa and the rest of the world, in fields such
as analytics, automation of performance management, and geolocation of
animals.
 
“As a continent, we can migrate to being
producers and be at the cutting edge of technology if we invest in
intellectual property,” Cwele says.
 
“The ITU Telecom World has committed to assist the continent to achieve this in various ways through the legacy projects.
 
“The ITU has agreed to support us in
setting up the African Digital Transformation Centre which will be
launched at the Durban conference.”
 
The centre has been conceptualised as an
ecosystem enabling multi-stakeholder groups of experts to conduct
research, identify new approaches to policy development, explore ways of
supporting innovation, consider new forms of funding
support for start-ups, and facilitate partnerships between established
business and small businesses.