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A SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis carried out by a local market research company for a survey on South Africa's IT industry indicated that South Africa's IT industry is characterized by a small but strong skills base and a growing infrastructure. The analysis also shows that South Africa is well positioned to develop niche opportunities and to develop a software development industry. The middle class is also fast becoming IT empowered.

On the downside, there are considerable challenges and obstacles to be faced such as skills flight and difficult access to IT within pockets of South African society, particularly in view of the low levels of literacy and education of the great majority of the population.

Below is a summary of the SWOT Analysis for the Information Communication and Telecommunication industry.

Accelerated roll-out infrastructure
Education and learning in the IT field
Existing skills base in place – some pockets of excellence (niche skills)
English language
Government will to introduce IT facilitated Public Sector Services
Existing IT infrastructure
IT costs are relatively low
South Africa’s IT leadership in Africa
South Africa’s international IT links
IT is a new driver of the Economy
WEAKNESSES Inequitable Access
Lack of a National IT strategy
Low levels of literacy and education
Inadequate IT skills base, worsened by the “brain drain”
IT “phobia” and elitism
Poor government services hamper IT rollout
Industrial age management is still being used in the IT age
Small local IT market
Poor technology transfer
International lack of clout in IT
Poor conditions for investors
IT precipitated antisocial behavior
OPPORTUNITIES Emerging Information society
Continued accelerated roll-out of telecommunications infrastructure
Policies to foster an information society
IT enable learning/Education/Training
Distance education
National policy to stimulate IT development
Public service delivery through IT
Transformation of Government using ICT’s
Less legacy infrastructure than the developed world
International links solve several IT weaknesses
Various ways of financing IT operations
SMME’s, the future of the IT industry
Work patterns are more flexible
Its can enhance security and safety
THREATS IT worsens disparities in the Information Society
Lack of IT skills in the labor force outside the IT sector
Education funding is low
Distance education is not a mature medium
Government inefficiencies – too sluggish for the fast moving IT sector
Government policies may lead to job losses
Redundant and Inappropriate technologies
Globalization favors the developed world
A weak economy is further threatened in a global information society
New social problems arise

Numerous opportunities exist for US firms, particularly in the training and education area of IT and related fields, such as Information Technology Management. In addition, consulting companies specializing in the IT industry could benefit from providing their services to Government structures concerning the development and implementation of IT national policies.

Further, because the development of SMME's (small, medium and micro-sized enterprises) has been given a national priority, there is a need for economically viable software that uniquely caters to this end of the market.

Internet users 3,068,000
Internet Users Rank 32
Internet Users Date of Information 2002
 Telephones - mobile cellular 7,060,000
Cell Phone Rank 17
Cell Phone Date of Information 2001
 Telephones - main lines in use 5,000,000
Telephone Rank 30
Telephones Date of Information 2001
GDP - real growth rate(%) 3
Growth Rank 92
Growth Date of Information  2002 est.
GDP - per capita $10,000
GDP/pc Rank 72
GDP/pc Date of Information  2002 est.
GDP $432,000,000,000
GDP Rank 21
GDP Date of Information  2002 est.
Population 42,768,678
Pop Rank 27
Pop Date of Information  July 2003 est.

This site was last updated 6 March, 2009