PRETORIA: South Africa’s communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni is hoping for mass countrywide internet rollout within the next two years.
The head of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies wants to see a predominately digital economy by the year 2023.
Addressing a BRICS meeting this week, she said: “Where we are to date, we are considering a program to fast track the connection of all South Africans or to ensure that all South Africans have access to an internet connection within the next 24 months.
“This is part of responding to bridging this digital divide. Access to internet connectivity will not only enable access to services, but will also open opportunities for applications and systems that are developed in South Africa and elsewhere in the world to be accessible to all people of South Africa, and promote collaboration in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) including in BRICS.”
Ntshavheni added that the Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated the extent of the digital divide in South Africa and the rest of the developing world, especially on the African continent.
“In our country, those children from schools and families with access to the internet were able to continue with their learning with minimal interruption,” she stated.
“Whereas the majority who did not enjoy similar access, have suffered huge losses in school days and thus impacting on their access to quality education. Therefore for us, access to the internet or connectivity, or bridging the digital divide, has become a first and foremost priority for our country.”
Darul Ihsan Media Desk