African governments face the challenge of drastically transforming their countries by reducing poverty levels and growing the economy. This will in turn grow the countries’ wealth and improve the citizens’ lives.
In South Africa, Information Communication Technologies have been identified as a key enabler to accomplish this objective.
As a result, the government is putting in place a number of initiatives that will encourage stronger adoption of ICTs by government officials and civil servants, and efficient use of technologies to deliver social services to citizens.
One of the technologies that is being officially added to the mix is mobile technology. South Africa already has 89% of mobile phone penetration, and there is a growing prevalence to use text messaging and access of the Internet using mobile phones.
As a result, the State IT Agency South has partnered with mobile operator MTN to bring mobility to government departments.
Essentially, MTN is to create a virtual private network through which government employees will be able to access government’s internal network. This mobile network will be available to local, provincial and national departments.
Here are some of the benefits this move is expected to bring:
- Government employees can access their offices 24/7 using any devise (PC, laptop, PD
- A and mobile phone) to access the Intranet and emails.
- Increased access enables employees to use their time more effectively, reducing “down time.”
- The network provides users quick access to relevant information for effective decision making.
- The network is secure, and users do not have to go through the public Internet to connect to their offices to access confidential government information.
- There are cost-savings due to economies of scale ( bulk buying).
Not limited to South Africa This kind of mobility is a strong option for other African countries. Mobile phones are becoming pervasive across Africa, with Nigeria punted as the fastest growing mobile market in Africa. Also, mobile phone companies in Africa generally subsidise handsets, ensuring that African government departments do not have to shoulder the bulk of the expense where new devises are needed.
Lastly, South Africa is already acting as a test case for other African countries. Should this initiative be wildly successful, MTN can easily customise the concept for local conditions.
MTN operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The countries are Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Afghanistan, Benin, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Liberia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Source by Damaria Senne