Pretoria – The Science and Technology Department and mobile phone supplier, Nokia, have entered into an ambitious partnership to develop technological projects across the country.
This came after the department and Nokia signed a memorandum of understanding which allows for potential areas of collaboration to be developed, funded and implemented.
The partnership, aimed at implementing a number of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects, is also targeted at stimulating innovation and growth in South Africa.
Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, also acknowledged the role of ICTs in boosting economic growth.
“This is why the DST is leading the implementation of the national ICT research, development and innovation strategy. In this regard, we view public-private partnerships to be of importance for us in achieving this objective,” she said.
One of the key expected outcomes of the plan is an innovative indigenous ICT industry that addresses South Africa’s ICT needs in the public and private sectors, and attracts investment by multinationals involved in innovation and manufacturing.
Vice President for Government Relations for Nokia: Middle East and Africa, Jussi Hinkkanen, said South Africa has a thriving telecommunication industry, with a lot of potential for disruptive innovation.
“Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and then integrate them into both regional and global markets,” he said.
In addition to stimulating entrepreneurial activity and high technological innovation, the collaboration intends to promote the interest of South African learners, cultivating the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.
The General Manager for Nokia in South Africa, Gerard Brandjes, added: “As South Africa’s leading mobile company, it is our responsibility to identify areas where our technical skills can facilitate the development of society.
“We hope the educational focus under this collaboration will motivate thousands of South African learners to explore careers in technology.”
Through the Nokia Siemens Network, the Africa Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project Office and the department, the parties will continue to seek ways to enhance collaboration on large-scale computing, data transport and sensor networks in support of the African SKA bid.
The project is expected to revolutionise the ICT industry in terms of data processing and sensor networks.
Rufus Andrew, Managing Director of Nokia Siemens Networks South Africa, said they are using their global expertise in telecommunications and in-depth knowledge of the local South African market to advise the SKA bid teams.
“We have been involved in the project from the start, supporting and advising the project team on all technical requirements, capacity planning, provisioning and skills,” he said.
South Africa is competing with Australia to hosting the SKA. – BuaNews