Three Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies pledged a total of R809 million towards the Eastern Cape economy, part of the R127 billion in new investment commitments announced on Friday during the third Eastern Cape Investment Conference held at the East London International Convention Centre. Among these commitments is a significant R500 million investment by Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile communications company.
This substantial funding is allocated for expanding connectivity in rural areas and townships within the province.
Additionally, global technology firm JendaMark Automation is injecting R150 million into digital Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Furthermore, the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa is dedicating R159 million towards broadband implementation projects across various regions in the Eastern Cape.
“These investments represent a pivotal moment in the province’s economic trajectory. They underscore government’s commitment to using technology and broadband connectivity as an enabler for vibrant economic activity. As the official economic development agency of the Eastern Cape, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) supports government’s efforts of attracting high value investments into the ICT sector.
“A total of 2,700 sites which include government offices, schools, libraries and health institutions are targeted by the provincial government for broadband connectivity by 2025. To date, over 1,100 sites have been connected under this programme. The SA Connect intervention under the auspices of the national Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is also underway, targeting to connect 3,929 sites by the end of 2023,” says ECDC chief executive officer Ayanda Wakaba.
Wakaba says provincial investment in connectivity infrastructure will enable the creation of inclusive and economy-transforming opportunities from the 2Africa 45,000km subsea cable, the first submarine cable landing in the Eastern Cape. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2023. This cable connects Africa, Europe and Asia, and will contribute to improved connectivity for underserved areas and contribute to network resilience.
Of the R127 billion in investment declarations, R22.1 billion are investments announced for the first time, while R105 billion was announced at the South African Investment Conference in April 2023.
“These investments will inject substantial capital into the provincial economy, leading to a cascade of positive effects that will benefit citizens, businesses and the overall economic landscape. The investment commitments are in the energy, manufacturing, information communication technology, property, tourism, film, oil and gas and healthcare sectors.
“ECDC is proud to have been entrusted by the provincial government to organise this year’s edition of the conference. The province welcomes these declarations as they underscore the province’s commitment to fostering economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development, while positioning the province as a compelling destination for local, national and international investors,” says Wakaba.
Wakaba says the value that these investments bring to the province’s economy cannot be overstated.
“They represent a pivotal moment in the provincial economic trajectory, positioning the province for robust growth and a prosperous future. We extend our gratitude to the visionary investors who have chosen to partner with us on this journey, as well as to our dedicated government agencies and institutions for their role in facilitating these declarations,” says Wakaba.