South African government launches plan to connect rural communities to the Internet

This initiative is part of the second phase of SA Connect, launched in 2013, which targets 80% broadband coverage for public administrations, communities, and homes within three years.

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The South African Government, led by Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Mondli Gungubele, has announced an initiative to provide internet access to 5.5 million households in rural areas and townships over the next three to four years. It aims to bridge the digital divide in a country where only 10% of households had internet access in 2023.

This effort is part of the second phase of SA Connect, a broadband policy launched in 2013 to provide 80% of public administrations, communities, and homes with broadband access within three years.

Minister Gungubele, speaking at the National AI Government Summit, also called on hyperscale cloud companies such as Microsoft, Google, Huawei, Nokia, and Amazon Web Services to support African nations in AI development, stressing the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in advancing AI technologies for societal benefit.

Why does it matter?

Expanding internet access and advancing the development of AI will be essential for South Africa and the continent’s digital future. Ongoing initiatives like the AI ​​in Africa Machine Learning Indaba, the Africa AI Blueprint, and the establishment of the Artificial Intelligence Institute and Center for Artificial Intelligence Research highlight Africa’s commitment to innovation. However, there remains a need to address infrastructure challenges and promote inclusive participation to fully unlock the potential of these initiatives.