By Frost & Sullivan’s Information and Communication Technologies Research Analyst, Gladys Mujuru and Environmental and Building Technologies Research Analyst Sarah O’Carroll
The Southern African region is undergoing a major transformation; the scale of investment in infrastructure has grown substantially. The investment within the road, rail and energy and power sectors is expected to expand to the tune of $148 billion in the next ten years. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has experienced much improvement with the region acknowledging the need for ICT as an economic development enabler. The Minister of Communication for South Africa, Ms. Dina Pule, has indicated that expanding telecommunication connectivity into the rural regions is a key initiative. There are major ICT projects currently being pursued in most countries, such as the national fibre roll out in Angola (which is expected to cost $500 million), as well as Zambia and South Africa, notes Frost & Sullivan, global growth consulting firm.
South Africa is expected to lead investment initiatives, spending over 60% of the total revenues on infrastructure development. This will translate to expenditure of $91 billion on road, rail, and energy and power infrastructure. However, in 2012, almost $2 billion will be spent on development of terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure. The bulk of the telecommunications investment is expected to be focused on upgrading mobile networks, which have been the primary drivers for internet and voice uptake in African countries. Major operators, such as MTN and Vodacom, have been upgrading their infrastructure to prepare for the expected increase in demand for data services.