'Technology will enrich the poor'

Canaan Mdletshe

At least three of four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas, and more than two billion of them are living on less than R20 a day.

This was said by KwaZulu-Natal finance and economic development MEC Zweli Mkhize when he addressed about 200 people at the Information Communication Technology (ICT) conference in Durban yesterday. He added that 880million people live on less than R10 a day.

Mkhize said the government inherited a system which still shows unbelievable imbalances in access to ICT.

"Development and research funding before 1994 had previously focused on military and energy sectors and very little went into developing technology that would create an information society," said Mkhize.

Mkhize said ICT plays the role of a key enabler of the modernisation of government, and "offers both citizens and companies the opportunity to interact with government seven days a week and 24 hours a day".

Local government and traditional affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu shared Mkhize's sentiments. He said there was a great need for technological transformation.

"We cannot even claim to have completed a task bequeathed upon us by our forebears as long as our people are still living in squalid conditions with no hope for tomorrow," said Mabuyakhulu.