South Africa seeks advice from IT leaders

South Africa seeks advice from IT leaders

In a bid to maintain an IT leadership role in Africa, South African President Thabo Mbeki met with world IT heavyweights last week to win their support and hear their ideas for transforming his nation into a stronger global technology presence.

Mbeki met with Carly Fiorina, chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, and Sergio Giacoletto, Oracle vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa. IT leaders will contribute to shaping South Africa by offering innovative ideas and strategies the nation may adopt to boost both IT and economic performance, said Robert Nkuna, the presidential media liaison officer for the communications department.

The Presidential Technology Task Force, formed in February, has advised Mbeki to meet with IT leaders to hear their ideas. The task force is aimed at finding new ways to bridge the "digital divide" between South Africans with access to IT and those without.

Task force members also were part of the meetings last week, which included "a very heavy agenda,"according to Jos Nickmans, managing director of HP South Africa. It was the first time Fiorina visited South Africa, he said.

If South Africa succeeds in its push to become a global IT presence, industry watchers expect there will be a positive spill-over effect in other African nations.

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