The newly appointed Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, says Government is doing all it can to prepare South Africans for a “technological revolution” that is set to change lives.

On June 24th Cwele spoke at the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Cisco Safari Conference at the University of Pretoria about the growing use of ICTs.

Cwele emphasised that South Africa is aware of the technological advances sweeping the globe and – with the shift to the Internet of Things (IoT) – the country needs to prepare for a world ruled by Internet connectivity and push ICT development in the country.

Cwele said by 2025 the world’s population would have moved “from having no or limited Internet access to having total access – most probably through a mobile device”. Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predicts 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020.

Cwele said the National Development Plan (NDP), South Africa’s policy framework that is aimed at improving the lives of all South Africans by 2030, called for people to be ‘e-literated’ by 2030. “This is the world we have to prepare for. One the priorities the NDP highlights is improving the quality of education, skills development and innovation. “

Cwele highlighted the importance of ICT skills, commending Cisco for its longstanding partnership with the department through its e-Skills Institute, which has now been launched as the Ikamva National e-Skills Institute (INESI). “I urge both Cisco and our universities to continue on this path of collaboration and innovation in delivering skills and learning solutions to especially our youth,” said Cwele.

Improving ICT infrastructure and connectivity is crucial to the development and roll-out of eHealth in the country. So it’s therefore a step in the right direction for the new Minister to acknowledge the necessity of improving ICT literacy. In the ICT for health environment there is no shortage of innovation; the challenge is to integrate innovative scalable and sustainable solutions into the health system.

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