Comms ministry readies digital economy investment conference

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of communications and digital technologies.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) will host its Digital Economy Investment Conference in September.

This was announced by DCDT minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, during the keynote delivery address at the IDC South Africa CIO Summit 2021 today.

Ndabeni-Abrahams initially noted the department’s plans to host such a conference earlier this week while presenting her budget vote speech in Parliament.

At the time, she said her department would host a Digital Economy Investment Conference in the second half of this year, noting it’s in line with attracting partnerships and investment to support growth of the sector.

Speaking during the CIO Summit, she explained: “This [investment conference] will be a platform where potential investors and business opportunities converge in one place virtually. Let us not miss this opportunity to create partnerships for future growth.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams also emphasised the importance of partnerships, saying: “Partnership of government, private sector and communities is a necessity we cannot avoid. Government, acting in isolation, cannot succeed.

“It is through joint efforts, guided by a common vision as enshrined in the NDP [National Development Plan] 2030, that we will be able to conquer the stubborn challenges of joblessness, poverty in some sections of our society, and inequality.”

Government is no stranger to hosting investment conferences, with the SA Investment Conference being the latest edition.

Established in 2018, the annual investment conference provides a platform to showcase new investment opportunities in SA by attracting local and global leaders from business, government and the investment community to forge relationships and explore numerous ways to reignite economic growth in the country.

Last year, tech and telecoms companies, including Dimension Data, Google, Telkom and Teraco, pledged billions of rands towards supporting SA’s ICT sector.

The 2020 instalment of the event bagged a combined R109 billion in commitments from a total of 50 companies, revealed president Cyril Ramaphosa, which brought the collective pledges to a total amount of R773.6 billion worth of investments contributed towards SA’s economy in the last three years.

Some of the big commitments came from leading tech companies – Telkom pledged R8 billion to expand its infrastructure across the country, and Google committed R2.2 billion in a fibre-optics submarine cable in the Western Cape that will provide high-speed Internet connectivity across SA.

In the data centre sector, Teraco Data Environments committed R4.4 billion, while NTT and Dimension Data pledged R875 million to expand their respective data centre infrastructure throughout Gauteng.

Read more