Feb 17 2012

It’s the internet, stupid

Published by at 3:48 pm under South Africa,Top Stories

Sometimes one must shake the head in disbelief and frustration about the South African government and its inability to unlock the job-creating capacity of the economy. All the more so, since new jobs are desperately needed and Trevor Manuel recently published (yet another) plan to get the economy to grow faster and create more jobs. It seems the way from policy to implementation is simply too arduous for this government.

How did I get onto this depressing topic (yet again)? Well, this article brought me to it. Read it and weep. If SA could close this gap with the rest of the world, thousands of new jobs will spontaneously jump out of nowhere, the internet economy will wake up and start catching up with the rest of Africa (yes, SA is lagging behind Africa) and then even the rest of the world (it’s way behind everyone). All of this will happen naturally – without the government having to do anything.

But, first government must invest in broadband infrastructure (which will create a lot of jobs on its own), to bring broadband costs for the consumer down and stretch consumer usage (at current speeds no-one wants to sit in front of a computer).

The article also answers the question, “why aren’t there more globally successful internet entrepreneurs in SA?”.

A (big) part of the answer: when an IT developer switches his computer on in SA in the morning to start his working day, he is already 80% less productive than his counterpart in Europe. Because a page takes almost 8 times longer to load on a screen in Cape Town than in Stuttgart. Thanks to the SA government, IT developers in SA are completely and utterly unproductive compared to (almost everywhere else in) the world.

How much longer do we have to wait, President Zuma?

One response so far

One Response to “It’s the internet, stupid”

  1. adminon 30 Mar 2012 at 9:49 am

    The FTD article (here) about the SKA project also mentions that underground glass-fibre cables will be linking telescopes in 5 or 6 countries in Southern Africa.

    If only the SA government could work up the same excitement for the internet as it has for the SKA project!

    Fifteen years after it should have been done, the SA government still hasn’t given the country the infrastructure it needs to compete with the internet economies of Kenya and Nigeria.

    Government dreams of educating a few dozen scientists with the SKA project, while a whole nation waits for the internet economy to get off the ground.



Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply