ICT & Electronics
The South African perspective
The ICT sector is ranked amongst the top five sectors in South Africa, in terms of its contribution to gross domestic product. The IT services sector contribution to SA’s GDP is expected to grow at approximately eight percent per annum over the next couple of years to R 43, 2 billion in 2009. IT services account for approximately 40% of total expenditure.
However, the growth has not met the national objective of affordable access to the full range of communication services. Access to mobile services continues to grow, however, broadband access (particularly access to fixed broadband) remains very low in comparison to other lower-middle-income countries, and the prices of all communication services remain high by both African and global standards. This in return opens up opportunities to further penetrate the ICT markets.
The South African National Development Plan (NDP) identified access to communication technology as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP) 15: Expanding Access to Communication Technology (“SIP 15”). Strategic Infrastructure Project 15 (SIP 15) seeks to provide 100% broadband coverage to all households by 2020, extend the fibre networks across provinces linking districts and local level, and further penetrate the network into deep rural areas.
The Global Information Technology Report 2015 says that South African’s potential of ICTs has not been fully unlocked.
ICT and electronics industry in the Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape presently has an underdeveloped Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. In terms of the growth of the province by way of commercial and manufacturing operations, there is significant development potential and opportunity in the provincial ICT sector for investment and business operations. The Eastern Cape Information and Technology Strategy identified various priority areas for the development of the ICT sector.
East London Industrial Development Zone - Science and Technology Park
As a bid to increase participation of young individuals and create more opportunities in the ICT and Science sectors in the Eastern Cape, the ELIDZ implemented the development and operation of a Science and Technology Park (STP). The park is designed as an attractive, functional and interactive space to encourage the exchange of ideas and facilitate the development of creative technical solutions to problems. Its services include a variety of laboratory facilities, training platforms, an open innovation platform, networking solutions, as well as incubator services. As such, the main objective behind the park is to increase competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of local industries through innovation.
The ELIDZ STP as the only park of its kind in the country linked to an IDZ was conceived as a catalyst for growth, collaboration, incubation and the application of innovations for the high technology sector.
The ELIDZ STP is designed as an attractive, functional and interactive space to encourage the exchange of ideas and facilitate the development of creative technical solutions to problems. Its services include a variety of laboratory facilities, training platforms, an open innovation platform, networking solutions, as well as incubator services. The ELIDZ has also located 2 incubators in the STP through it’s incubate programme and these host 78 entrepreneurs from the ICT and Chemical sectors.
Local Success stories
ICT investment opportunities in the East London Industrial Development Zone
- Automotive Electronics: Manufacture of electronic systems & control modules, navigation systems, instruments.
- Consumer Electronics: TV, radio and communications assembly in IDZs for export.
- IT Hardware: CD, cell phone manufacture
- Machine Tools
- Technology Incubator: Support for IT & internet entrepreneurs through a technology park, supported by a university ICT faculty.
- Telecommunications: Business process outsourcing (BPO)
- IT Professional Services (including custom software application development and maintenance)
- Computer Software (packaged software products – cross industry and vertical market applications);
- Educational project: Mass production of low-cost laptop for educational use. South Africa has not yet signed on for the project. Countries which have done so include Rwanda, Uruguay, Peru and Libya. The OLPC laptops are produced by Taiwanese-based Quanta Computers, which has a 33% market share of laptops worldwide.
- Voice over IP (VoIP)
- Wireless software (financial transactions over mobile phones)
- Motor relays and pre-payment metering (develop expertise due to problems with payment of electricity and water bills)
- Electrical machinery (Electronic equipment and Appliances, Electric transformers, Electric hair care devices, Portable electric lamps , Electric hairdryers, Electric coffee & tea makers, Electric toasters
Benefits in the East London IDZ
- First class infrastructure
- Close proximity to transport networks
- Expertise and knowledge from industry role players in East London (universities IT departments, Business Connexion, Dimension Data, Telkom)
- Department of Communication - Strategic Plan - Medium-Term Period 2015/16 - 2019/20
- Marketing, advertising and communication sector charter
- Eastern Cape ICT strategy
- Draft rural ICT strategy
- Department of Science and Technology - 10 year innovation plan
- The Global Information Technology Report 2016 - ICT for inclusive Growth
- Information Economy Report 2017