The Minister Of Higher Education and Training address on the occasion of the South African Mobile Devices Exposition (SAMDEX) media breakfast and launch held at the Radisson Hotel Ekurhuleni
Mr Loyiso Tyira, SAMDDRA Board Chairperson and other Board Members;
Dr Mark Mpasa, SAMDDRA Managing Director;
Other Chairpersons and CEOs of our state entities;
SAMDDRA Members and Partners;
My Advisors and Ministry staff;
Officials from both my Departments of Science and Innovation and Higher Education and Training;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me to express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity to be with you this morning to support the South African Mobile Devices Distributors and Repairers Association (SAMDDRA) in this official launch and engagement with stakeholders about the South African Mobile Devices Exposition (SAMDEX), a brain child of the SAMDDRA. Indeed, as a Ministry, with my two departments, we are delighted to be in a partnership with SAMDRA, given the potential this has to provide skills and employment opportunities for our young people, particularly in the townships.
Indeed, back in 2021 when I addressed the launch of the SAMDDRA, I called for the heightened relations between SAMDDRA and my two departments, to accelerate the training required to empower our youth to take up the opportunities presented by the work of SAMDRA.
This partnership will ensure that SAMDDRA is in a better position to support its prospective membership to get practical skills, training, certification and accreditation of companies and SMMEs as outlined in its founding mission.
Most importantly this partnership will ensure that we massively expanded a range of skills development initiatives directly linked to the national Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, particularly using information communication technologies, such as cell phones and other tech-based innovations.
As I understand it, SAMDEX will be a gathering of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), innovators, researchers and developers so that they expose their mobile devices, mobile apps as well as related products and services to the South African public and to African and international visitors.
As mentioned before, our partnership with SAMDRA predates the hosting of SAMDEX, and began with support for training through our Media, Information and Communications Technologies (MICT) SETA. We have now entered into a formal partnership with SAMDDRA for this hosting of SAMDEX. Given the mandate of my two departments, that of promoting skills development, science and innovation, we felt it important to support this important initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen
The 4th industrial revolution (4IR) brought with it modern technologies and tools that can assist to create various opportunities in South Africa to benefit its citizens.
With the highest need to reduce unemployment and transform the economic and social order in the country, it is undisputed that a continuously thriving Mobile industry is one of the channels that can unlock opportunities especially for the youth.
According to StatsSA quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Q3:2022, the number of unemployed people in South Africa increased from 4,9 million in Q3:2012 to 7,7 million in Q3:2022. What is more concerning to me is that the youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 59,6% and 40,5% respectively. Again, approximately 3,5 million (34,5%) out of 10,2 million young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education or training (NEET). Through the partnership with SAMDDRA, and many more such partnerships, we will make a dent in addressing the above.
The SAMDEX initiative is in line with our shared view that opportunities created by the 4IR era should be harnessed to inclusively benefit the people of South Africa and the African region.
According to Statista.com, mobile devices have become a fixture of everyday life for millions of people. Across the globe, web-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets have evolved into essential tools for communication, information, and entertainment alike.
In 2022, the number of unique mobile internet users stood at five billion, indicating that over 60 percent of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online. Mobile ownership and internet usage are forecasted to keep growing in the future, as mobile technologies are becoming more affordable and available than ever.
This upward trend in mobile internet adoption is particularly visible in developing digital markets where mobile networks are the primary means of internet access. Today, mobile internet traffic accounts almost 60 percent of total web traffic, while in mobile-first markets such as Asia and Africa, mobile connections account for an even larger share of webpage views.
It is therefore important that SAMDDRA continue to establish proper forums in order to start examining all the building blocks that will allow the benefits of this striving Mobile industry to trickle down to the people who actually use those technologies and from whom wealth is created from this industry.
I therefore encourage our youth and women entrepreneurs to participate especially as exhibitors of their products and services because SAMDEX is also a platform for leaders, visitors and all industry stakeholders to explore, exchange and discuss topics relevant to the local South African economy and its regional (Africa) impact.
To this end, areas of interest include innovation and education, research and development, manufacturing, distribution and usage of mobile devices and mobile apps as well as related products and services.
As such, SAMDEX 2023 is an opportunity for leaders and decision makers to unearth, map and document an industry led roadmap for the mobile devices’ industry that is beneficial to the country’s economic and technological future both for a progressive local, national and regional socio-economic impact.
As a department and a partner to SAMDEX, we will ensure that there is continuous collaboration between SAMDEX and our SETAs, particularly, the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA), which is a skills development institution established in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998 to generate, facilitate and accelerate the processes of quality skills development at all levels in the MICT sector in South Africa.
Our National Skills Fund will also bring the necessary funding of to ensure that the SAMDDRA’s work and skills training is supported to reach out to all the youth of our country.
We will also bring on the Wholesale and Retail seta which will develop strategies to ensure that all the innovation find their way to the markets.
We will also ensure that we link our 34 TVET college based Centres of Specialisation and our TVET entrepreneurship hubs to this initiative. We will also ensure that we bring onboard our Community Colleges for partnering as well
Through the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), I will continue to support innovation programmes and projects in this area of work, particularly through our Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) programme and the Data Science for Impact and Decision Enhancement (DSIDE) programme for capacity building. These are projects that we are funding as the DSI to harness technological convergence and drive the advancement of the South African economy in response to the 4IR.
It is important that our nation’s future science, technology and innovation paradigm is intimately connected with the principles of promoting public good, equality and inclusion.
This is the reason that our White Paper on Science and Innovation and our Decadal Plan emphasise that digitisation remains an important component of our strategies moving forward.
In conclusion, after the first SAMDEX, I expect to see more continued collaboration between industry stakeholders will increase interactions between themselves, working together towards the future of the localisation of the value chain of the Mobile devices’ industry in South Africa. The Media is therefore a valuable stakeholder for the success of the SAMDEX and its future mission.
Let me take this opportunity to thanks the SAMDDRA Board, both my Department of Higher Education and Training and Science and Innovation and all our agencies and SETAs who will be participation in the SAMDEX initiative.
I also thank the SAMDEX friends and sponsor including all those who have confirmed their participation in this initiate.
I call upon all South Africans, our youth in particular and organised youth structures to work with us through this initiative to ensure that expand training in this mobile sector and create the necessary jobs and entrepreneurs of the future using the information and communication technologies.
Source: Government of South Africa