Government wants South Africa to build its own phones and other tech products

Communications and Digital Technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says that the sourcing of locally manufactured products remains a key priority focus.

Presenting her annual budget speech on Tuesday (18 May), Ndabeni-Abrahams said that her department, together with industry, has now identified a number of products that can be locally produced.

These include:

  • Phones and accessories;
  • Manufacturing of components for infrastructure / 5G network expansion;
  • Sensors and telematics – which includes lidar;
  • Smart metres for water and electricity and other tracking applications;
  • Satellites and drone components.

“As part of the implementation of these programmes, the department is working with the department of trade, industry and competition to facilitate the establishment and operationalisation of an ICT Special Economic Zone (SEZ),” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

“To date, a suitable land has been identified where this SEZ will be situated. The two departments are working towards the digital products I mentioned for local manufacturing, with government procurement capacity being utilised as a lever to enable the sector.”

The minister said that the technology sector was seen as a key factor in helping South Africa’s post-covid-19 recovery and as a job creator.

She added that her department has now finalised a ‘digital economy master plan’ and is currently engaging various stakeholders in the development of the implementation plan.

“It is envisaged that the implementation of the digital economy masterplan will see the achievement of economic contribution upwards to 4.5% of GDP per annum, creation of one million jobs over the next 10 years, create massive opportunities for SMMEs.”

Read: R200 billion localisation plan for South Africa – with talk of blocking some imported products

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Government wants South Africa to build its own phones and other tech products