Pretoria – South Africa and China have signed a Plan of Action on areas of cooperation in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele and China’s Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei signed the agreement in Cape Town on Monday.
“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,” Minister Cwele said.
The agreement strengthens existing ties between the two countries in the area of Information and Communication Technologies.
Minister Cwele said South Africa recognised 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,” he said.
The Plan of Action on areas of cooperation in ICTs will cover cyber security, E-government, internet governance as well as broadband strategies for implementation and rural access.
Other areas of cooperation included SMEs incubation in ICT, investment in telecommunications services, E-skills professional training, electronics manufacturing and technology transfer as well as research and Development in ICT.
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 the two countries,” department spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza said. – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za