By Michael Appel
Internet networking company Cisco has partnered with the Eastern Cape Government to promote the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to improve service delivery and economic growth.
The announcement was made at the Eastern Cape ICT Summit in Port Elizabeth, Wednesday, and was attended by representatives from the Eastern Cape government, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Cisco and other stakeholders.
"Our partnership comes at a time when government, including the Eastern Cape, is investing in a phase of infrastructure build-outs, geared towards capacity building for FIFA World Cup 2010 and beyond," said Cisco Public Sector Regional Sales Manager Aggrey Rantloane.
He said government has outlined the ICT sector as a critical enabler to deliver on economic growth initiatives, and fast tracking the development of relevant skills has therefore become a focus for Cisco.
The theme of the summit was "Partnership with private sector and government in using ICTs for sustainable growth and development."
The partnership comes on the heels of research done by Cisco on the effectiveness of ICT integration and use in the public sector.
Some of the findings indicated there was a necessity for shared service processes in the public sector, while emphasis also fell on ICTs ability to reduce costs and allow government to focus on key service delivery areas.
"It is clear that technology is both an enabler of and major target for shared service initiatives, as one of the more interesting findings in the study relates back to the mismatch between ICT strategies and the real demands of the citizens," said Mr Rantloane.
He said that the public sector investment initiative is fuelling a wave of opportunities across all sectors of the economy, and committed Cisco to support both government and local business to achieve their objectives.
ForgeAhead, a leading ICT Research and Consulting House, in early July released the National Government Research Report which identified various key trends in South Africa's ICT development.
The report focused on ICT development, management skills, convergence in cyberspace, cyberspace security and e-Government.
E-Government is the integration and use of ICTs within departments to fast track service delivery to the public through providing e-services in spheres such as education, health and administration.
Research manager for National Government at ForgeAhead Nicky Pope told BuaNews "national government departments are moving to citizen centred service provision and not bureaucracy centred governance."
She added, government departments are gearing towards results and attempting to be more service delivery orientated.