Speaking at the two-day meeting with the Presidential International Advisory Council on Information Society and Development (PIAC) in Mpumalanga, President Thabo Mbeki said that South Africa had to become an advanced information-based society in which Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools were the drivers of economic and societal development.
To do so, the whole government would have to be quickly rallied, he said. The council found that the country was still short of ICT skills and needed a development programme which took into account local and global imperatives. Although South Africa had a diverse and dynamic telecommunications market with world-class technology, there were still many untapped opportunities in rural and densely populated urban areas. These opportunities could contribute to faster economic growth, the PIAC said. The PIAC said the recently signed protocol on the ICT broadband infrastructure network for eastern and southern Africa would improve international broadband access and lower the cost of broadband services.