The Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa and Nokia Corporation have announced an ambitious new partnership aimed at implementing a number of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects, targeted at providing a thrust for innovation and growth across the country.
This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the DST and Nokia, establishing a framework on which potential areas of collaboration can be developed, funded and implemented.
Addressing the media on this partnership last week, the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, acknowledged the role of ICT in stimulating economic growth.
“This is why the DST is leading the implementation of the national ICT research, development and innovation strategy. In this regard, we view public-private partnerships to be of importance for us in achieving this objective,” said Pandor.
One of the key expected outcomes of this plan is an innovative indigenous ICT industry that addresses South Africa’s ICT needs in the public and private sectors, and attracts investment by multinationals involved in innovation and manufacturing.
Vice President for Government Relations for Nokia Middle East and Africa, Jussi Hinkkanen, said South Africa has a thriving telecommunication industry with a lot of potential for disruptive innovation.
“Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and then integrate them into both regional and global markets,” said Hinkkanen.
“As South Africa’s leading mobile company, it is our responsibility to identify areas where our technical skills can facilitate the development of society. We hope the educational focus under this collaboration will motivate thousands of South African learners to explore careers in technology,” said, Gerard Brandjes Nokia South Africa GM.
“Nokia Siemens Networks is using its global expertise in telecommunications and in-depth knowledge of the local South African market to advise the SKA bid teams, from both a technical and business perspective, about the best options to transport the huge volumes of generated data to the high-performance computer center of the SKA.
We have been involved in the project from the start, supporting and advising the project team on all technical requirements, capacity planning, provisioning and skills,” said Rufus Andrew, Nokia Siemens Networks South Africa MD.
The DST and Nokia believe that opportunities exist for bold interventions that will enable South Africa to secure a greater share of global markets, and help bridge digital divide.