Telecommunications department to help 50 girl-learners to innovate

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services is looking to train 50 girl-learners from the Eastern Cape on developing ICT innovations, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told MPs yesterday.

In an address to Parliament yesterday during the presentation of the department’s budget vote, Ndabeni-Abrahams said following the completion of the intervention the girl learners will then participate in a challenge to build their own innovation which will benefit their communities.

The intervention was launched last month during International Girls in ICT Day.

In addition South Africa’s domain name authority .zadna will also train women-led small businesses on website development and domain-name registrations.

The department would also engage with various stakeholders to train women-led start-ups from the OR Tambo District on how to utilise the free Wi-Fi which has been rolled out in the district, to create economic spin-offs and work opportunities, she said.

She said the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa) will run several e-skills training interventions this year, including Tech for Girls and Mobile Tech for SMMEs and will also host the national e-Skills Summit later this year.

‘Through .zadna female-led startups will be trained on web development’

The department has set aside R49-million for Nemisa to assist the youth, women, small businesses, people with disabilities in the eight priority broadband districts and National Health Insurance (NHI) sites, said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

In addition the department had identified opportunities and R20-million in support interventions for the development of small businesses.

She said through the state-owned companies corporate social investment (CSI) forum, which is co-ordinated through her office, the department will also consolidate interventions and report on these initiatives.

During the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Durban, the department announced South Africa’s adoption of the Internet for All initiative, which aims to bring millions of South Africans onto the internet for the first time through new models of public-private partnership.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said her department has forged a number of partnerships with the private sector, including:

  • Google to train 1.1. million South Africans on digital skills. 80,000 have been trained thus far.
  • IBM to train on digital skills 5 million young South Africans over five years as part of the 25 million across Africa.
  • Microsoft providing training to one million people from Gauteng as well as building Africa’s first digital hub.
  • Cisco connecting 50 schools with smart technology called “Spark Board”.
  • Ericson deploying digital labs for schools in Mpumalanga, KZN and Northern Cape.
  • Funding from UK Department for International Development (DFID) estimated at £15 million.

In March the cabinet approved the publication of the ICT small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) support strategy for public comment.

The strategy aims to develop strategic interventions to accelerate the development and growth of small enterprises in the ICT sector, and to facilitate increase in the levels of uptake and usage of ICTs by the general small business sector.

Featured image: Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at the 2015 Film and Publication Board Conference Gala Dinner, courtesy of GovernmentZA via Flickr (CC 2.0, resize)



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