Speaking at the Southern African Telecom-munication Networks and Applications Conference, in Cape Town, she noted that investment in telecommunications provided the backbone of economic and industrial advances.
The Minister emphasised the importance of technology in assisting in alleviating poverty and developing economies in Africa.
The ICT industry had to develop solutions that allowed the most marginalised to transcend their current level of development and to become participants in and users of ICT, said Pandor.
With Africa’s growing economy, there is also growing recognition that the continent could not be left behind in terms of trade in technology, she noted.
Africa was now also more connected to the rest of the world than ever before and, by 2013, in excess of 12 Tb/s of capacity through undersea cables would be available on the continent.
Therefore, investment in science and technology was increasing rapidly.
However, innovation and new technologies were mostly being funded and driven by the private sector.
Few private companies sought out public funding for innovation and technology development was focused on competition rather than economic development.
The Minister, however, emphasised that the public sector also had a lot to offer in terms of driving innovation. She also said that the public and private sectors had to collaborate more in terms of developing technologies.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that the South African government was committed to, and encouraged the use of, free open-source technology.