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MTN wants a Silicon Valley to be set up right in Gauteng, South Africa

by Milicent Atieno
Gauteng, South Africa

Cape Town has mostly dominated the tech space in South Africa. Indeed most innovation hubs, incubators, and some of the big tech companies in the country trace their roots in Cape Town. However, MTN thinks Gauteng should be the nerve center of technology in South Africa.

The telecom calls on the government, universities, and the private sector residing in Gauteng to take up the opportunity and exploit the infrastructure established in the region and accelerate development of technology. MTN argues that the mobile ecosystem and general access to mobile broadband connectivity have improved tenfold in the region.

Essentially, Gauteng has all the necessary infrastructure needed to acquire the skills, execute the plans, and become the Silicon Valley of South Africa. MTN ambitions to see Gauteng province overtake the regions like where Cape Town is located seems like an overstretch of enthusiasm. Especially when you consider the fact Cape Town has close to two decades lead in the establishment of infrastructure and networks, it would take to be a leading tech city.

During a recent Gauteng Provincial Government Technology Innovation Conference, Mariana Kruger the General Manager of Products and Services at MTN Business, while addressing the delegates that more has to be done to connect and amplify the achievements done in the province; especially in Johannesburg.

The accomplishments that both the public and private sector have achieved could be used as the building blocks for a Gauteng Silicon Valley. The building blocks are there, the key element that is missing is pulling all of this together and leveraging it to build a technology hub that will incubate innovation and stimulate the development and growth of technology start-ups. The private sector is doing a lot of great things in siloes. The starting point is to break these siloes, identify key challenges that all parties can collectively work towards addressing, and unlock the potential that is inherent in this vibrant city,” said Kruger

Kruger further pointed out that the lack of enough venture capital in the region is a big factor that cripples innovation and growth of startups from the province. Stats by the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association shows that 75% of venture capital was received in the Mother City, with Jo-burg getting only 20%.

Kruger further added: “Gauteng is the financial capital of South Africa. We need to unlock resources in the province by creating an enabling environment that entices venture capitalists to invest in the ecosystem. This requires us to deepen collaboration between universities, the private and public sector. Universities are centers of knowledge that are renowned for nurturing innovation. We need to tap into this and unlock the potential they present.

The next step is to leverage vast networks as a viable platform for IoT and for connecting people, devices and machines to the digital world. This is what lies at the heart of our vision to create brighter lives and lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world.”

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