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ICT and electronics in South Africa The leader of information and communication technology (ICT) development in Africa, South

Africa is the 20th largest consumer of IT products and services in the world As an increasingly important contri!utor to South Africa"s gross domestic product (#$%), the country"s ICT and electronics sector is !oth sophisticated and developing South Africa"s IT industry is characterised !y technology leadership, particularly in the field of electronic !an&ing services South African companies are world leaders in pre'payment, revenue management and fraud prevention systems, and in the manufacture of set'top !o(es, all e(ported successfully to the rest of the world Several international corporates, recognised as leaders in the IT sector, operate su!sidiaries from South Africa, including I)*, +nisys, *icrosoft, Intel, Systems Application %rotocol (SA%), $ell, ,ovell and Compa.lectronics industry revenues in South Africa are growing at levels well a!ove the overall #$% growth rate /ey players in industrial, power, defence and telecoms electronics include Siemens, Alcatel, .ricsson, Altech, #rinte&, Spescom, Tellumat and *arconi A highly competitive consumer electronics mar&et producing high value'added electronic products also plays an important role Competitive advantages South Africa"s ICT and electronics sectors are e(pected to continue showing strong growth in the future, due to &ey competitive advantages specific to the country and the continent Testing and piloting systems and applications are growing !usinesses in South Africa, with the diversity of the local mar&et, first world &now'how in !usiness and a developing country environment ma&ing it an ideal test la! for new innovations #artner, the international research group, rates South Africa as one of its top 00 software development outsourcing destinations, with 2001 research putting it on par with Israel in the .urope, *iddle .ast and Africa region, and ne(t to Australia and India glo!ally South Africa has also esta!lished itself as a -uality, low'cost call centre destination The country is host to call centres for A23, +/ retailer Asda, 4irgin *o!ile +/, Samsung"s .uropean digital camera division and others And new legislation, such as the Telecommunications Amendment Act of 2005, has opened up communications in South Africa, prompting international telecoms operators such as 4irgin *o!ile to launch their products in the country

South Africa"s ICT products and services industry is also penetrating the fast'growing African mar&et South African companies and locally !ased su!sidiaries of international companies have supplied most of the new fi(ed and wireless telecoms networ&s that have !een esta!lished across the continent in recent years A significant retarding factor has !een the high cost of !andwidth in Africa 6owever, the government has committed to addressing this, and ma7or pro7ects are under way to lay su!marine fi!re'optic ca!les along !oth the east and west coasts of Africa to !oost the continent"s connection with the rest of the world Technology incubation, research, training Innovation Hub South Africa"s Innovation 6u!, esta!lished in %retoria in 2002, is Africa"s first internationally accredited science and technology par& A pro7ect of )lue I8, #auteng province"s hi'tech industrial promotion agency, the comple( !rings together high'tech industry, academia and entrepreneurs to improve South African technology and productivity Ta&ing its !enchmar& from the !est such developments in the world, the creativity'driven centre houses technology'related !usinesses across a range of disciplines, including ICT, electronics, !io'science, and advanced manufacturing sectors such as defence spin'off and automotive manufacturing It also runs a !usiness incu!ator programme that has given life to pro7ects ranging from password management solutions and electronic voucher vending systems to micro'processor prosthetic &nees The 6u! is the site of Sappi"s Technology Centre, )igen"s future head office, the $epartment of Trade and Industry"s Aerospace Industry Support Initiative, and 3e7ara .nterprise Solutions, an SA% implementation partner and !usiness intelligence specialist Meraka Institute South Africa"s ICT industry is also supported !y the African Advanced Institute for Information and Communication Technology, also &nown as the *era&a Institute Set up as a strategic government initiative, the institute promotes ICT s&ills development, research and innovation, as well as the adoption of free9li!re and open source software (:32SS) Joburg Centre for Software ngineering Another partnership !etween industry, academia and the government is the ;ohannes!urg Centre for Software .ngineering The centre aims to grow South Africa"s capacity to deliver world'class

software, strengthen the local software development industry, and promote !est practice in software development within an African conte(t !niversal Service and "ccess "gency And the statutory +niversal Service and Access Agency of South Africa, launched in 5<<1, has !een wor&ing together with service providers and non'governmental organisations to set up centres across the country where disadvantaged communities can access ICT services and s&ills training