Thanks for the vote of confidence
AITEC Europe launches today, aimed at showcasing African ICT companies in the hope of attracting foreign investment to Africa. Yet there seems to be little or no support from SA`s Department of Trade and Industry.
A major event takes place in London this week, closely related to home and my past life, and I believe attending it would be a wonderful morale booster, as well as a networking and educational opportunity of note for South African business folk operating in the UK.
This represents a clear sign that the South African government`s internal confidence in its technology and communications sector is low.Basheera Khan, Editor, ITWales.com
Alas, I have a major Welsh event of my own to contend with, so I will not be paying a visit to AITEC Europe, the software and services showcase designed to boost African prospects for exporting its ICT work.
The event features one or two South African speakers, but for the most part, the rest of the speakers hail from Ghana and Kenya, in which AITEC is more strongly represented, and from various European countries as well.
I understand from the AITEC Europe Web site that the event is supported by Trade Partners UK, part of the government body responsible for helping UK firms secure overseas sales and investments, and for attracting foreign direct investment to the UK.
In addition, the European Union and individual European trade and development aid ministries are being approached to assist with promotion in other European markets.
All this effort on the part of the Europeans to develop the potential for outsourcing services or importing products at prices which, thanks to the exchange rate, are currently very favourable indeed.
And yet, on the other end of the support chain, there is no sign of a South African government involvement in providing a supporting role to the work of AITEC Europe.
No mention of the event on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Web site, no information on the Trade & Investment South Africa (TISA) Web site - even a search on that site is impossible, as an attempt to use the latter`s search engine results in a message that TISA is "currently developing a new and sophisticated search engine [which] will be up and running in the next few weeks".
This is a government-run Web site which aims specifically to entice foreign investment into the country, and yet it does not allow for a phased roll-out of upgraded services that will ensure continuity and credibility with its visitors. Am I the only one who thinks this is an error of the first degree?
In addition, the DTI is in fact involved with a number of international events designed to boost SA`s export industry, in almost every trade sector except ICT. To me, this represents a clear sign that the South African government`s internal confidence in its technology and communications sector is low.
Of course, I could be wrong - but so far, I can`t find proof to show that the SA government believes in the exportability of ICT products and services.
And though I`m sure I will be joined by many in following ITWeb`s coverage of AITEC Europe, I do hope that the conference`s message is brought back to South African shores, to be shared with those businesses that believe very firmly in the export quality of their wares.