“An important issue for consideration during this conference is the recognition of ICTs as a tool to support socio-economic development within the new Sustainable Development Goals (that replaced the Millennium Development Goals), and the increasing importance of the Information Society in peoples’ lives globally, as reflected in the priority given to ICTs even by people on low income,” she said on Thursday.
Minister Muthambi was speaking at the Forum’s session themed “Media and Information Literacy for Building Culture of Open Government,” held at the Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
She told delegates that it was important to preserve the value of the event as an international discussion platform, where current trends in the development of ICTs are reviewed and presented, practical issues are discussed and where the search for tools of promotion of new technology trends is performed.
The Minister said it was necessary to focus an agenda as much as possible on the implementation of regional level projects in both constituent units of the Russian Federation and administrative and territorial units of the participating countries of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The Forum represents a necessary platform for leaders from government, business, and civil society across the world to deliberate on challenges and most importantly to influence on opportunities that those challenges may present.
The objective of the Forum is to establish a platform for discussion of the most pressing issues related to the creation and implementation of information technologies in various spheres of life.
“We came here to involve partners from the BRICS and the SCO countries to participate in the discussion in order to exchange best practices between Russian and foreign experts.
“When we consider that two–thirds of the world’s population still does not enjoy access to the internet, it should be our shared goal to give people the power to transform their lives and benefit from all positive opportunities that the ‘online’ world offers. We support the early adoption of rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour on the Internet,” she said.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Minister Muthambi said in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the links between government, industry and academia are more important than ever.
“To support our economy, we have increased the number of technology transfer offices to share knowledge and support the development of new products and businesses, in areas such as biotechnology, energy and information technologies.
“Contemporary technology trends develop and change governance. Means and methods of administrative control are evolving.
“In fact, any industry: medicine, education, transportation, law enforcement system has to deal with the need to restructure the ways of interacting with citizens and legal entities,” she said.
The Minister said there was a need for the transformation of familiar tools in up to date, convenient, safe, proactive, citizens-oriented services.
“Any transformation is now estimated by quality of new IT-services and the extent to which they improve, simplify and improve the livelihood of citizens, making it more comfortable.
“As government of the Republic of South Africa, we regard this conference, as a strategic tool which gives expression to the main assertion of the Windhoek Declaration (WD) which called for a free, independent, plural and diverse media, as a fundamental human right essential to democracy and development,” she said.