Internet critical to SA economy

2012-05-29 13:09

Cape Town - A survey conducted in South Africa has concluded that the internet contributes 2% to the county's gross domestic product.

The survey conducted by World Wide Worx for Google South Africa found that even though internet in SA is limited in terms of its penetration, it was critical for business communications and transactions.

Banks have seized on the opportunity that modern communication tools have present by offering clients online banking platforms as well smartphone applications to transact.

FNB was first to launch a smartphone app and Absa upgraded its online banking platform to offer consumers money management tools in addition to online banking transactions.

According to the study, consumers spent R59bn on online services and product purchases in 2011.

Airline industry

"What is interesting here is that the largest contributor to this total is not, as most people would assume, the investment by service providers in infrastructure. While the mobile networks and fibre providers have certainly spent their fair share on infrastructure - a total of R13.5bn - this pales beside the R29.2bn spent on internet presence and access," said Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

The survey highlighted the airline industry as having fully embraced online sales with sales of nearly R9bn in the period under review.

More than a third of active small and medium enterprises (SMEs) still have no web presence and Google said that they could be missing opportunities by delaying their online presence.

"No business, industry or government can ignore the scale of the internet and the impact it is having.  It presents a host of opportunities.  Small and medium enterprises have been uneven in their uptake, but they are moving online in increasing numbers and are committed to doing so," said Luke Mckend, Google SA country manager.

"Approximately 150 000 SMEs in SA would go out of business, were it not for their web presence. Since SMEs account for some 7.8-million jobs, this means that as many as 1.56-million jobs would be in jeopardy were it not for the internet," Goldstuck said.

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-29 13:20

    I hope the ANC regime don't try again to hijack the domain. Please keep the Internet out of their grubby, draconian paws !!!

      Tony Lapson - 2012-05-29 13:58

      Was about to say, "I hope no one mentions politics for no reason at all."

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-29 14:19

    2% does not equate to "critical" in anyone's language.

  • Kuveshan - 2012-05-29 17:16

    R29.2b spent on infrastructure, yet the price for even a simple 1mb line (including line rental) is still beyond an average consumer! We're definitely still backwards in terms of the online world.....

  • bdarcywilliams - 2012-06-06 02:33

    Google forgets that many small busineses have owners that are not conversant with the internet, or have electricity to power a PC.

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