Among five major projects mentioned in a government presentation at the launch earlier this week of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (a virtual event this year) were two important telecommunications initiatives in satellite communications and broadband.
A planned Space Infrastructure Hub will allow for the development of satellite infrastructure, satellite-based augmentation systems, and earth observation satellites. This type of infrastructure aims to reduce South Africa’s reliance on other countries for the type of information that these satellites can make available and is expected to reduce the timeframes for collecting necessary data.
It will also, according to the government, provide information that might be used to develop products and services that can allow targeted responses to the country’s socio-economic and infrastructure challenges.
Project Thobela, meanwhile, focuses on broadband. Businesses and households are becoming increasingly reliant on the internet, and the coronavirus pandemic has meant that even more activity is taking place online. The 2018 General Household Survey estimated that only a tenth of South African households had access to the internet at home. The figure is even lower in rural areas. By bringing internet connectivity to regions with low levels of broadband penetration, Project Thobela aims to help to close South Africa’s digital divide.
The other projects include a greenfield citrus project, a water augmentation project and The Greater Cornubia, a new city that will be a mixed-use and mixed-income development.
The Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDSSA) is described as a platform that brings together critical role-players in the infrastructure investment space, who are galvanised around a key goal of accelerating an infrastructure-led economic recovery plan.