Speaking at the Connect IT: Joburg 2010 conference recently, the city`s executive director for 2010, Sibongile Mazibuko, said Johannesburg intends to be a world-class digital city by 2010, ready and able to provide the ICT needs of the soccer extravaganza and afterwards putting that technology to work for the benefit of the city`s residents.
"There is no doubt as to the fundamental importance of ICT during an international event such as the 2010 Soccer World Cup," says Mazibuko. She added that national government as well as the host cities have signed various guarantees with FIFA, the world soccer body, to ensure the success of the World Cup.
These include broadcasting guarantees, such as establishing an International Broadcast Centre (IBC), as well as multiple media and press centres and ensuring reliable broadcast infrastructure, including power supply, for the duration of the event, and telecommunication guarantees.
These include making available a fibre-optic telecommunication infrastructure - the "foundation" layer - in and around the match venues and between match venues and the IBC.
But Mazibuko does not see this solely as the city`s task. "The City of Joburg, the private sector, the non-profit sector and other stakeholders should work together to realise the maximum gains from the use of ICT."
Mazibuko says the city sees the hosting the World Cup as "a key focal point to accelerate its own vision and delivery on socio-economic goals", which she lists as alleviating poverty and stimulating balanced and shared economic growth, social mobility, settlement restructuring as well as sustainable development and environmental justice.
Warming to her theme, Mazibuko added that the city`s ICT investment has to create a lasting legacy by enabling local economic growth through making available affordable high-speed broadband connectivity, which will, in turn, lead to improved e-government service delivery and growth in the city`s ICT industry. The city fathers are particularly keen that the latter increase Joburg`s ICT skills base, create employment and make the metropolis more attractive as an investment destination.
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