How bad is South Africa’s connectivity in terms of internet access, use of ICT and digital transformation? While there is still a lot that we can do to make it better, it might not be as bad as you think.
Every year Huawei releases its Global Connectivity Index (GCI) for 50 countries, taking factors such as connectivity, ICT usage and development into consideration. Where does South Africa fall on the list? We are number 33, but we also have a lot going for us.
“South Africa’s strength lies in their potential of the ICT sector and a better customer service compared to other African nations. It has Africa’s largest telecom network dominated by mobile telephony, and mobile Internet and smartphones are driving m-Commerce uptake,” Huawei said in its 2015 report.
Even though SA is doing some things right, the IT giant has pinpointed a number as aspect that contribute to our falling grade.
“Demand has been low for South Africa due to shortfalls in e-Commerce, Cloud, Broadband and Mobile Broadband. Policy reforms to increase mobile penetration and broadband in rural sector through fiber optic network like India and other developing nations will help increase domestic demand. Fixed broadband should be relatively inexpensive to increase e-Commerce,” it noted.
The company also noted that South Africa only has a smartphone penetration rate of 31%, only 18.4% of the population are mobile broadband users, and only 3.9% of the country’s GDP is spent on IT.
To increase a country’s GDP by only 1%, its ICT has to grow by 20% – and the 2015 GCI demonstrated that.
“It also identifies five enablers of digital transformation – data centers, cloud services, Big Data, broadband, and the Internet of Things. These technologies represent the targets that stakeholders should focus their investments on in order to most efficiently transform their economies for the digital age.”
South Africa’s Country Rank on the 2015 GCI is 33 out of 50 countries, and our 2015 Index Score is 41.
“The United States ranks the highest among surveyed countries, on the strength of robust supply and demand of ICT services, and an advanced state of adoption, with other mature economies such as Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom rounding out the top five.”