The science and technology industry in South Africa has developed into a potential global competitor. Already, South Africa is hosting the Square Kilometre Array project and are building the world’s largest radio telescope to explore the Universe. However, if the nation wishes to fully realise a digital industrial revolution, the South African government will need to intervene in the hostile and consumer unfriendly industry. The South African government certainly invests attention and resources into science, technology, telecommunications, internet services and related industries, but very little has been achieved to ensure that consumers access the benefits of technology.
Digital Industrial Revolution Commission
This may soon become a reality as President Cyril Ramaphosa included reforming technological advancement in his State of the Nationa Address: ”
Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage of rapid technological change.
This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
We will soon establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, which will include the private sector and civil society, to ensure that our country is in a position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology.
The drive towards the digital industrial revolution will be underpinned by the availability of efficient networks.
~ Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2018
A Digital Industrial Revolution Commission may just be what the country needs to address the cost of telecommunications, notably mobile data. The commission can also investigate internet security, compliance and competition within the industry.
There is immense digital talent which can be unlocked from an African youth which is more connected to the world than ever before. Expanding opportunities for these youth has become the responsibility of our government, especially when large corporations have proven unable to fully realise the country’s technological potential for most South Africans.
Internet Hubs in Business Districts
The country can learn from South Korea, which has the fastest average internet speeds in the world. Instead of creating ‘fibre hoods’, South Korea built internet hubs around the business district. This enabled them to streamline technological infrastructure to areas of business which created accessibility, improved business and industry and ensured that they could deliver rapid high-quality internet.
Simply put, South Africa’s digital industrial revolution can only become a reality if this commission makes the correct strategic decision to expand technological access to business districts and reap the world or reward that follows.