World Cup boosts South African ICT

International credit insurer Coface says it expects an increase in foreign direct investment in South African ICT over next 18 months, based on the success and professionalism in the way SA has managed the World Cup.

Coface said the World Cup had positively affected the country’ s communication capabilities including the internet, social networking and telecoms.

Control systems such as passport control have also benefited, as well as media communications infrastructure to accommodate the 18 000 journalists covering the World Cup, and the IT-based security systems needed to cope with tourists and spectators.

Coface believes that infrastructure development spend should increase after the 2010 World Cup.

The World Cup facilitated a communication explosion in SA with approximately 450 000 foreigners. This has increased demand for the country’ s communications requirements.

Calls to the SA tourism call centre increased from between 1000 to 2000 calls per week up to 10 000 to 15000 calls per week.

Social networking linked to the World Cup is up approximately 10 fold and internet access has increased significantly, both mobile and computer-based.

Mobile telephone contracts have increased for the duration of the tournament and there has been a media frenzy for the transfer, receipt and screening of data across the world.

As a result of the World Cup, Coface sees a drive to improve international bandwidth capacity through increase internet connectivity in SA although the market continues to be controlled by larger players. And entry to the market is limited by the large capital input costs.

“ But the skills shortage remains a challenge. Currently, there is an estimated 25% skills shortage due to the domestic skills supply being far below the demand.  Deep skills are even scarcer than entry level skills,” said Brian Peterson, industry analyst at Coface South Africa.

“ Due to the importance of the ICT industry, and its ability to drive the economy into the worldwide technology age, ICT spending and growth will continue to be consistent at a macro level for both government and corporates,” said Peterson.

Coface believes that when the economy has turned the corner the ICT industry will be at the forefront of growth in South Africa.

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