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South Africa needs to get on the technology trajectory

first_imgThe opportunities of the digital age could be the engine of growth for South Africa, delegates heard at the Vision 2030 Summit. It needed more investment in skills and infrastructure, but it could use technology to push local innovation.The digital age offers South Africa the opportunity to change the face of our economy. (Image: Strike a pose photography)Sulaiman PhilipInvestment in information and communications technology infrastructure today will bear fruit before the National Development Plan (NDP) ends in 2030. Embracing the opportunities of the digital age could be the engine of growth in South Africa. This was the view of speakers at the Vision 2030 Summit held in Johannesburg between 21 and 22 June.As Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha pointed out in his keynote address, to work towards a possible future we need to be able to visualise it. The NDP is that vision. “The people of South Africa, united in their diversity, have all embraced this future as visualised in the NDP. The challenge for all of us is to put shoulder to the wheel and work in unity towards this shared future.”The South African contextBrand South Africa’s head of research, Dr Petrus de Kock, set the context upon which South Africa needs to build. South Africa, despite its many challenges, remains a magnet for investment. For South Africans, it still offers the best opportunity for personal development. “We talk about vision but to transform our world we need imagination.”The world, De Kock pointed out, was still recovering from the economic meltdown of 2008. In some countries, especially Western economies, that had led to more aggressive inward-looking policies. South Africa had escaped the worst and as future growth would be driven by the Asian/African axis, we could grow if we were ready.“We talk about vision but to transform our world we need imagination,” Dr de Kock speaking at the Vision 2030 Summit. (Image: Strike a Pose Photography)The country and its people remained open and welcoming he said, and pointed to our tolerance as a society. “We exist in a unique context. We are unique in our constitutional acceptance of difference, religious tolerance for example. This is the identity of who we are.”The future can be in ICTPost and Telecommunications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams — like the speakers who spoke after her — championed the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She has been a strong advocate for the benefits that that will accrue to South Africa if we embrace the digital world.“We need to integrate digital goals into our day to day lives. We need to become comfortable with the changes and benefits that will come. Most importantly, we need to be more than just consumers of the internet.”Ndabeni-Abrahams said South Africans needed to embrace the 21st century. The digital age, she said, would allow the country to show off the innovation of which we were capable. The deputy minister acknowledged that South Africa faced infrastructure challenges, but added that innovative solutions would help to make the best use of the infrastructure we had.“We have launched the Internet for All with a pilot project in the OR Tambo municipality. The idea is that no matter where you are, you will have access. We can find solutions that have South African characteristics.”Beyond infrastructure, South Africa’s shortage of skills in digital industries had hamstrung the growth of the sector. In response to this dearth, she pointed to the public-private programme with Google, which had undertaken to train 5 million coders over five years, as the way forward.“We need to work together to breach the skills gap. We need to find these innovative ways forward, solutions that show that not only are we spending, but that we’re gaining on more digitally advanced nations.”InfrastructureOne of the important benefits of the digital age highlighted by the deputy minister would be the lower cost of communication. Working towards lowering costs while still innovating was Siemens’ history in South Africa since it started doing business in the country in 1860.Sabine Dall’Omo, Siemens South Africa chief executive, highlighted the company’s relevance in South Africa. Its operations contributed R6.8-billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and its technology lay at the heart of 31 mega projects. From the first telegraph built, the company had been “driving innovation and now driving digitisation”.A benefit of the digital age often overlooked was the way technology was making it easier and cheaper to transfer technology to developing nations. This benefit had allowed Siemens to use innovations developed in more mature economies to benefit South Africa.It did so in the automotive industry, for example: “One hundred and twenty thousand cars — or 50% — of cars produced in South Africa are built using Siemens technology.”Siemens’ Sabine Dall’omo and Dr Petrus de Kock being interviewed after their presentations. (Image: Strike a Pose Photography)eCommerceTo highlight the importance of the internet to economic growth, the Chinese TELE company Huawei monitored sales on one day — 18 June 2017. The study highlighted the power and opportunity presented by e-commerce.Huawei studied the buying habits of people on T-Mall, the Chinese online shopping service.It found:In a five-minute spell 200 tons of milk powder were bought onlineIn a seven-minute period 200 million nappies were boughtIn a 26-minute spell 10 million lipsticks were boughtThe fastest time between order and delivery was 13 minutes85% of all orders that day were made on a mobile deviceThis, in the words of Leonard Chang, Huawei’s managing director of corporate industry development and marketing, showed the power e-commerce had to create economic miracles. If South Africa was to meet the growth requirements of the NDP it needed to embrace digitisation. “Connectivity is not only a human right but an economic growth right.”Digitisation could be the engine for growth. While South Africa had among the strongest ICT policy frameworks, investment from the government and the public sector had lagged. The company’s research had shown that for every additional dollar (about R12) invested in ICT infrastructure there could be a $5 benefit to GDP growth by 2025.In the recently released Huawei 2017 Global Connectivity Index, it was reported that South Africa led Africa in terms of connectivity but lagged behind the rest of the world. “If we go at the same pace as we do today, we may never catch up with the frontrunners. At the same time, we must realise there is no shortcut in climbing the ladder of digital transformation.”The NDP was a start, but the vision was never enough, Chang warned. The country needed to move faster to close the digital divide. South Africa needed a strong action plan with achievable targets. One area that needed improvement was building ICT talent.Building skillsMymoena Ismail, the CEO of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa), believes South Africa was closing in on the Mobile Moment – when there was at least one mobile smartphone per citizen.She explained that the world was close to a new kind of future. “We are going to see a convergence of a new kind of tech, one that seamlessly merges physical, digital and biological spheres. If we do not take advantage and adapt, we will not benefit.”Her organisation focused on developing e-skill capacity in South Africa by offering training courses across the country. “We are part of the solution to ensure South Africa has the necessary skills to be leaders in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”In his address, Mathabatha said the NDP identified a stronger and better educational system and a more equal society as the keys to unlock economic growth. “The NDP envisions a South Africa where everyone feels free yet bound to others; where everyone embraces their full potential, a country where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work.“This is a vision embraced by all South Africans. The challenge, as I have said, is about navigating the routes towards such a future.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Just Start Again

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.You have good intentions. You want to keep your daily disciplines. You want to do what’s necessary to produce better results. And sometimes you do a brilliant job working your plan. But there are times when your intentions aren’t enough.Sometimes it’s difficult to follow your plan. It can be difficult to will yourself to do the work that you need to do. You get distracted. Your brain seeks variety. You get hooked on some new novelty. Just like that you’re off your plan and wasting time.And then you’re stressed out because you’re off plan. Stressed out isn’t a resourceful or productive state.Relax, it happens to everyone! In fact, it happens to some of the most productive people in the world. Really smart people, like Tony Schwartz, recommend you work only for 90 minutes and then take a break so to refresh the psychic energy it takes to focus on the work you really need to do.It takes energy, discipline, and focus to stay on your plan to do what you need to do. But when you fall off plan, don’t fret about it. Don’t agonize over having lost a few hours–or even a few days. The emotional energy you waste feeling bad about having lost the time does nothing to help get you back on plan.Accept that you fell off your plan. Accept that you could’ve done better. Forgive yourself for your all-too-human failings. Just start over. Today is a clean slate. There’s nothing you can do about anything that happened in the past, but you can do something about what you’re doing right now in this moment. And that’s where to focus your attention.You can start over today. You could start over right now. You could start this instant.QuestionsWhat causes you to lose focus?What distracts you and knocks you off your plan?How do you forgive yourself when you get off plan?What do you to get back on plan?last_img read more

Armed criminal nabbed

first_imgA hardcore criminal, Siva Shankar Panigrahi alias Jitu Kana, was nabbed after an exchange of fire with police at the Purunagada bypass near Jeypore in Odisha’s Koraput district on Tuesday.According to the police, a countrymade revolver along with live ammunition was seized from him. No one was injured in the incident although Panigrahi fired two rounds at the police.Acting on a tip-off, a police team tracked down Panigrahi and his associate near the bypass around 4.45 a.m. The duo was travelling on a motorbike. In a bid to escape they fired at the police. While Panigrahi was nabbed, his accomplice managed to escape. Panigrahi is named in a number of criminal cases. He was among the dacoits who had managed to escape following an exchange of fire with the police at Gopabandhu Nagar in Jeypore on August 18.last_img read more

Dhoni beats SRK, Sachin as top endorser

first_imgIndian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has topped the chart for celebrity endorsements on television during the first six months of this year. From being captain cool to becoming the hottest celebrity as far as the numbers of endorsements are concerned, Dhoni has jumped the queue on some big names in the country. Dhoni is ahead of his closest competitor Shah Rukh Khan by eight endorsements and Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar by nine endorsements, Adex survey of TAM Media Research has revealed. As per the survey results, Dhoni has 24 companies to his name, well ahead of SRK’s 16 and Tendulkar’s 15, the other top endorsers on the list. The Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the no. 1 celebrity endorser.Dhoni even took over the fairer sex’s appeal as superstars like Kareen Kapoor and Katrina Kaif stood far behind him. These actresses’ had a combined share of 45 per cent in the total endorsements of celebrities. During January to June 2010, Dhoni has done advertisements for a host of brands, including Reebok, Aircel, Godrej and TVS. Brighter future aheadIn July, Dhoni signed a Rs 210 crore deal with Rhiti Sports Management and Mindscapes to manage his long list of endorsements and brand associations for two years. The deal, the most lucrative in Indian cricket history, surpassed Tendulkar’s three-year contract estimated worth Rs 180 crore with sports management firm Iconix in 2006.last_img read more