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South Africa invites Indian IT, telecom firms
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | April 26, 2003 17:25 IST
India and South Africa are likely to set up joint working groups in IT and telecom to strengthen bilateral cooperation in these sectors.
"During the talks with IT and Communication Minister Arun Shourie on Saturday, the issue of setting up working groups in IT and telecom to jointly explore collaboration areas came up," visiting South African Communication Minister Ivy Matsepe Casaburri said in New Delhi.
She said the proposed working groups would evolve benchmarks under which they would work so that the objective milestones could be achieved in a more time-bound manner.
Both the ministers also discussed on how STPI (Software Technology Park of India) could assist South Africa in setting up such a body.
"Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu will visit South Africa to share his thoughts on e-governance", Casaburri said.
Earlier on Friday, South Africa had invited Indian businessmen to invest in Information and communications technology sectors to tap the huge business opportunities that exist.
Casaburri, who was leading a trade delegation to Hyderabad, assured all assistance from the government for Indian companies. She said the ICT sector offered huge business opportunities for Indian technology, expertise and investors.
Praising the technical know-how and entrepreneurial skills of Indians, she invited the Indian companies to come to South Africa to set up their operations.
"Just bring your technology. We have the money to invest in the partnership," she said, referring to various government schemes to help such joint ventures.
Interacting with representatives of Indian ICT companies at a seminar organised by Nasscom here on Friday, she said India and South Africa could exchange the latest technologies, particularly in ICT sector, to change the lives of the majority of their peoples.
"If India finds a solution to the problems of the people through these technologies, these can be used for people in South Africa and vice-versa. We can use these solutions for countries in Africa, South America and Asia," she said.
She said South Africa was looking to India for its strong democracy, policy development and legislations in area of new technologies like IT and convergence.
"We would also like to follow the Indian experience in serving the un-served and providing IT content in local languages," she added.
The African continent was trying to shape its destiny and Indian had an opportunity to be part of this change. With large presence in South Africa, East Africa, including Tanzania and Kenya, Indians had a crucial role to play in this process, she pointed out.
The visiting dignitary explained that, with steady growth rate even in times of downturn in other countries, world-class telecommunications network, cheap electricity and other infrastructure, South Africa offered tremendous business opportunities.
She also referred to the opportunities in the area of medical tourism in her country. "Don't leave South Africa after investing or setting up your operations. Indians are a part of South Africa. You will not feel alien there," she said recalling the ties the two countries had since the days of Mahatma Gandhi.
She said South Africa could assist India in its plans to create a database of all its citizens. "We have already done this in South Africa and we are prepared to share our experience with India," she said adding that this documentation would help in rolling out e-governance.
She said the fact that she was visiting India for the fifth time proved the growing ties between the two countries and especially with a city like Hyderabad, which had become a major center for IT and biotechnology.
South African High Commissioner in India Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane highlighted the need to build on the strong historical relations and synergies between the two countries by expanding their trade relations. He also stressed the need for the two countries to cooperate in the increasingly unipolar world and changing global scenario.
Inviting the IT companies to set up their software hubs, the High Commissioner said South Africa was also an ideal place to have disaster recovery centres. Moreover, Indian companies need to come to South Africa with a strategy different from the one they adopted in the United States and Europe.
Satyam Computer Services chairman B Ramalinga Raju said the opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the area of e-governance were immense. He said the two countries could also exchange best education and health-related practices and their experiences in tackling problems like illiteracy.
Additonal inputs: PTI Delhi