PROPOSAL FOR FREE WIFI TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

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1 PROPOSAL FOR FREE WIFI TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY Free WiFi For Africa NPC, trading as Project Isizwe NPO Registration NPO 156 DORP STREET, STELLENBOSCH, 7600, SOUTH AFRICA

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS OVERVIEW... 3 THE DEVELOPMENTAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTEXT... 4 THE LEGAL AND POLICY CONTEXT... 4 STRATEGIC GOALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY... 5 HOW WILL FREE WIFI ADRESS DTI S STRATEGIC GOALS?... 6 THE BENEFITS OF CONNECTIVITY

3 OVERVIEW The President acknowledged in the 2015 State of the Nation address the importance of connectivity as a growth enabler. In today s fast-paced, digital world, the average South African is at a disadvantage, due to a lack of access to the Internet. There is an enormous amount of services and information, accessible via the Internet that supports informal learning, social inclusion and economic development from which they are excluded. Free Internet Zones (FIZ) offer a solution to the digital divide. Each FIZ will offer a WiFi hotspot, covering open public spaces that will allow learners and community members to simply connect and surf using any WiFienabled device. Access to the Internet will bridge the digital divide, allow for 21 st Century blended learning, greatly improve communication and stimulate job creation. The impact of this project has the potential to change the trajectory of South Africa s youth, building the leaders of tomorrow and encouraging them to become citizens of the world. Keeping this in mind, it is critical to consider the developmental local Government premise of the Constitution, which impacts all citizens directly and supports the goals of the Department of Trade and Industry. The Department s strategic goals may be achieved in recognizing and supporting developmental local Government as set out below. 3

4 THE DEVELOPMENTAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTEXT 1 The White Paper on Local Government (1998), defines developmental local Government as: "...Government committed to working with citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs and improve the quality of their lives". This new and broad mandate for local Government is in line with the objectives for local Government set out in the Constitution (1996) (see below) and link directly to the strategic goals of the Department of Trade and Industry. According to the White Paper on Local Government, it seeks to address the apartheid legacy which "has fundamentally damaged the spatial, economic and social environments in which people live, work, raise families and seek to fulfil their aspirations. The previous local Government system led to an extremely uneven distribution of resources and distorted, fragmented patterns of development. The eradication of these distortions and imbalances and the poverty which flows from them is one of the greatest challenges facing Local Government. THE LEGAL AND POLICY CONTEXT 1 The Constitution (S152) puts in place a vision for developmental local Government and contains the following objectives for developmental local Government: To provide a democratic and accountable Government for local communities To ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner To promote social and economic development To promote a safe and healthy environment 1 Democratic Local Government : A Guide for Councillors, published by National Business Initiative, December

5 To encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local Government. According to the White Paper, true developmental local governance should ultimately result in the following outcomes: The provision of household infrastructure and services The creation of liveable integrated cities, towns and rural areas Local economic development Community empowerment and redistribution. Connectivity can help to address the developmental mandate of local Government and support the strategic goals of the Department of Trade and Industry and brings it into alignment with the President and Government s vision expounded in the National Development Plan. The strategic goals set out speak directly to the local sphere of Government s developmental objective. STRATEGIC GOALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY The DTI strategic goals are as follows: 1. Increase the contribution of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to the South African economy via financial, administrative and other support; 2. Ensure the implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B- BBEE) across all sectors of the economy; 3. Increase the levels of foreign direct investment into the country; 4. Expand market access opportunities for the exportation of South African goods and services; 5

6 5. Contribute towards building skills, technology and infrastructure platforms in the economy, from which enterprises can benefit. HOW WILL FREE WIFI ADRESS DTI S STRATEGIC GOALS? The deployment of Free WiFi networks addresses the above goals as follows: 1. Increase the contribution of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to the South African economy via financial, administrative and other support; Free WiFi deployment has a multiplier effect on the economy, creating new businesses, increasing employment and increasing accessibility to consumers. The World Bank estimates that for every 10% of broadband penetration, there is 1, 28% increase in GDP. 2. Expand market access opportunities for the exportation of South African Free WiFi deployments create a larger online consumer base, which in turn creates an opportunity for e-commerce and other tech entrepreneurs to establish a local economic foothold, from which to grow internationally. goods and services; 3. Contribute towards building skills, technology and infrastructure platforms in the economy, from which enterprises can benefit; Free WiFi enables online education for those who wish to develop new skills and create more value in the economy, both in entrepreneurial endeavors and within larger enterprises. 6

7 THE BENEFITS OF CONNECTIVITY The benefits of the Internet are of greatest value to those living in rural areas, and yet these same citizens suffer from the slowest speeds and highest prices. LED PERSPECTIVE: The World Bank estimates that for every 10% of broadband penetration there is 1, 28% increase in GDP. ONLINE EDUCATION: From teacher training to early-childhood-development to distance learning, the Internet empowers learners to overcome local disadvantages and enter the global economy. ONLINE HEALTHCARE: Attracting health workers to rural areas is difficult. The Internet allows for rural citizens to connect with healthcare information and workers via online applications, thereby bridging the healthcare digital divide. GENERAL ACCESS TO INFORMATION: Engaging with citizens in rural areas in order to ascertain service delivery priorities and gain feedback on governance is traditionally very difficult. Internet access allows for real-time conversations and feedback via mobile phones. The well-documented consequences of Internet access are as follows: The strategic goals of the Department of Trade and Industry clearly speak to the need for connectivity as a solution and growth enabler. Project Isizwe, a Non-Profit Organisation, came up with an innovative solution to offer free WiFi as a basic service and growth enabler. Project Isizwe and its approach to facilitate the establishment of Free Internet Zones is detailed in the accompanying information. 7

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