The CSIR's Information Society Technologies Centre (ISTC) is partnering with the City of Johannesburg Metro in a joint venture to establish an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Hub in Orange Farm.
The initiative is part of the Metro's 2030 strategy aimed at developing and growing the city¿s economy over the next three decades. The strategy which was launched in May this year, identified ICT as one of five key sectors that require investment to support and increase competitiveness in a quest to grow the economy.
"This project aims to implement and replicate an innovative communications infrastructure and develop capacity within the community by providing relevant information content to support sustainable development," says Chris Morris, CSIR community ICT specialist.
"We want to create ICT capacity within the community that will support economic development through SMME growth, local manufacturing and investment. This will be a cost-effective and sustainable ICT for development project that will contribute substantially to resolving the constraints to communication and information flow experienced by small businesses," he added.
An ICT Hub will be established at an existing centre within the community where the technology will be housed, training will take place and business support services offered to the community.
About 12 candidates from the community have already been identified for training in PC literacy and business skills. "This was a really tough process as we had well over 60 applicants for the 12 positions, even though they knew no salaries were to be paid. There is so much talent that we would like to expand the training to other community members, but we need more support from partners," says Morris.
Existing small businesses in the area will also be identified to receive ICT training, which will create direct linkages for them to entrepreneurs and established ICT businesses as well as expand capacity-building. "Once training has been completed, additional satellite sites will be created to link small businesses in proximity to the Hub using wireless technology," says Morris.
The training programme started early in July and will continue until November this year. The overall plan is to develop capacity and attract investment in manufacturing and services in the ICT sector to Orange Farm. This will require partnerships with established ICT companies and other small business initiatives. "One idea is to establish a PC refurbishment business, possibly supplying PCs to schools," added Morris.
The communities will benefit immensely from this project through access to information that is of specific relevance to their daily lives and overall development. "We want to demonstrate how an ICT Hub and satellite centre can be set up and mobilised to support communities by providing development-oriented information and services," notes Morris.
Issued by: CSIR Group Communication.
The CSIR is the largest R&D and implementation technology agency in Africa with a track record spanning close to 60 years. Structured around seven distinct business areas, it delivers innovation and technology solutions in support of its clients and stakeholders. See www.CSIR.co.za or contact +27 12 841 2000.
Mr Chris Morris
Tel: 012 841 2509
Cell: 082 892 9349
Fax: 012 841 4720
Tel: 012 841 3716
Cell: 083 309 5585
Fax: 012 841 3924