Dig­i­tal econ­omy vi­tal, say BRICS min­is­ters

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BrICs CouN­trIes’ com­mit­ment to dig­i­tal de­vel­op­ment is aligned with South Africa’s In­ter­net for All ini­tia­tive.

speak­ing at the third BRICS Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ters meet­ing in Hangzhou, China, the Min­is­ter for Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and Postal Ser­vices, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, called for more in­no­va­tion and co-op­er­a­tion in the trade group.

“We need to en­able BRICS coun­tries to de­velop their own tech­nolo­gies, driven by SMMEs, which can be sold within the greater mar­ket of BRICS coun­tries,” the Min­is­ter said in his open­ing re­marks.

BRICS gov­ern­ments con­sider ICT as the gi­ant leap for­ward that will help grow the economies of all five coun­tries in the bloc. In 2016, the BRICS na­tions ac­counted for 23 per

Se­cu­rity and op­por­tu­nity

In a state­ment af­ter the meet­ing, all five min­is­ters recog­nised the im­por­tance of the dig­i­tal econ­omy in cre­at­ing new eco­nomic growth. The state­ment went fur­ther to recog­nise the se­cu­rity threats the 4th In­dus­trial Revolution posed.

“We should strengthen di­a­logue on how to re­spond to se­cu­rity threats and es­tab­lish ef­fec­tive mech­a­nisms to tackle cy­ber emer­gen­cies. More joint ef­forts will be made to build a safe and re­li­able net­work, and es­tab­lish a proper in­ter­net gov­er­nance sys­tem,” ex­plained Liu Li­hua, China’s Vice-min­is­ter of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy.

The South African ex­pe­ri­ence

Min­is­ter Cwele pointed out that South Africa has put ICT in­no­va­tion at the heart of gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy.

The min­is­ter called on his BRICS coun­ter­parts to help the coun­try meets its tar­get of safe high-speed broad­band for all South Africans by 2020. The In­ter­net for All ini­tia­tive aims to con­nect 22 mil­lion South Africans, es­pe­cially ru­ral and un­der­served parts of the coun­try.

He in­vited BRICS part­ners to help en­sure af­ford­abil­ity, share e-skills and help com­mu­ni­ties to de­velop solutions to lo­cal prob­lems.

BRICS part­ners con­sider ICT as a key way to help grow the economies in all five coun­tries.

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