SA to participate in UN Broadband Commission

Friday, September 15, 2017

Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, is leading the South African delegation to the 2017 United Nations’ Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development meeting, which will take place in New York this weekend.

Minister Cwele is participating in this conference after President Jacob Zuma approved South Africa’s continued participation, for another two years, in this global platform, which seeks solutions to the development of an inclusive digital world.

Minister Cwele is one of 52 global Broadband Commissioners, who are drawn from leaders in government, business, academia, policy makers and international agencies.

“The commission discusses strategies of connecting the four billion people, who are presently not connected to broadband or fast internet, in a cost efficient manner. Most of the people, who are offline, live in developing countries, largely on the African continent.

“The commission advocates for, amongst others, investment in the rollout of infrastructure to extend internet connectivity to underserved areas to limit new digital divides forming,” the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services said.

Minister Cwele is expected to participate in the Working Group on Education, Working Group on Vulnerable Groups and the Working Group on Technologies in Space and the Upper Atmosphere.

“The United Nations has identified Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a key facilitator in socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals include four that relate to ICTs. The attainment of these goals is linked to the universal and affordable access to broadband,” the department said.

South Africa has developed policies that are aimed at creating an inclusive digital economy. The country is now implementing these policies and is seeking partnerships with other countries on the continent to help connect many Africans to the internet. Minister Cwele is expected to continue strengthening these partnerships and to focus on ICT and digital skills training on a large scale across the continent. –

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