For immediate release
08 June 2015
The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele and the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China Mr Miao Wei today signed a Plan of Action on areas of cooperation in ICTs with the People’s Republic of China in Cape Town.
The agreement strengthens existing ties between the two countries in the area of Information and Communication Technologies.
South Africa and the People’s Republic of China have been enjoying deepening and growing relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two
countries in 1998. The relations are governed by the 5-10 Year Strategic Framework on Cooperation signed during President Jacob Zuma’s State Visit to China in December 2014. These relations are aimed at strengthening trade cooperation and create sustainable investment opportunities between the two countries.
Last year, trade between the two countries amounted to R262 billion, with a trade deficit of negative R73 billion for South Africa. During the year, South Africa’s trade
exports to China amounted to R94 billion, while South African imports from China were R167 billion.
The two Governments are working very hard together to address the negative trade deficit and to ultimately attain a more equitable and mutual trade balance that will be beneficial for further development of two countries. “We are establishing programmes of action to implement the agreement that was
signed by our Presidents. Our intention is to make these partnerships meaningful to our people,” said Minister Cwele.
“In this regard, this Plan of Action with China is opportune as we implement our broadband policy and strategic plan that calls for the development of a connected
society by 2030.” He said that South Africa recognizes that ICTs are key drivers of socio-economic development and that the provision of broadband infrastructure in rural areas remains a challenge. “Access and affordability of broadband services are serious impediments in these areas. We need to constantly look for innovative ways to deliver services. Striking long- term strategic partnerships is crucial to addressing these challenges,” said Minister Cwele.
The Plan of Action on areas of cooperation in ICTs with the People’s Republic of China covers the following;
1. Broadband strategies for implementation and rural access.
2. Investment in telecommunications services.
3. Cyber security.
4. E-skills professional training.
5. Electronics manufacturing and technology transfer.
7. SMEs Incubation in ICT.
8. Research and Development in ICT.
9. Internet Governance.
These areas were discussed by the two ministers and the business delegations from the two countries during the ICT Business Forum held before the signing of the Plan of Action. Both countries have targets to achieve full broadband rollout in rural and underserved areas. China has moved some way on this path and the two countries committed to sharing strategies on best models to achieve the goal of making broadband services universally available.
The Ministers agreed to work on closing the infrastructure gap in each country to ensure that citizens have access to a reliable, modern and affordable ICT and
telecommunication services which are provided in a secure platforms. This will include looking at submarine and terrestrial networks. The Ministers also agreed to cooperate on Research and Development and ways to develop and share specialist ICT skills, especially among the youth. This should lead to the development and incubation ICT Youth Hubs and enterprise centres. The Ministers encouraged more cooperation by the business sector in joint production of ICT tools
and equipment to localize electronic manufacturing. The Ministers also agreed on a joint ICT Investment programme to invest in developing
effective strategies to connect African countries and their economies to the most modern ICT and broadband networks. This partnership offers great opportunities for
South African companies in the ICT sector.
A programme of action on these key priorities was agreed upon and officials from both our countries will report on progress in these areas on an annual basis.
Issued by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services
08 June 2015