Programme Director,

Acting Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Mlungisi Mvoko

Minister of Employment and Labour, Mr Thulas Nxesi,

Executive Chairperson of the NYDA, Ms Asanda Luwaca,

Young people of South Africa,


Thank you for the opportunity to visit the Mthatha 4IR Youth Expo on this special day,

Youth Day. We know that the world around us is evolving at a very fast pace.

The way we work, the way we live and the way we connect with each other is changing

all the time.


I wish to congratulate St John’s College and Mthatha High School, and all their partners,

for organising this event. It is in technology where the jobs of the future lie. To attract the best jobs and the newest industries, we need to invest in cutting-edge science and innovation.

We need to invest in the skills of our people from the earliest age.

We need to invest in transportation and communications networks that move goods and

information quickly and seamlessly.


Access to data has emerged as one of the most significant barriers to digital equality

and access. We have some of the highest data costs on the continent.

By simply lowering data costs, young people are more readily able to access

information, and seek learning and earning opportunities.


This isn’t just about cheaper or faster internet or having access to social media.

It’s about connecting every corner of South Africa to the digital age.

It’s about a rural community in Limpopo or Eastern Cape where farmers can monitor

weather across the province and market their produce across the globe.

It’s about an entrepreneur with a great idea she hopes to sell to into the supply chains of

large companies.


It’s about every young person who no longer must leave their home town to seek new

opportunity, because opportunity is right there on their doorstep.

To make this happen, we are investing in research and the development of emerging

technologies and applications.


As so many young people know, access to broadband by itself won’t make an

entrepreneur more successful, or a learner smarter, or a citizen more informed.

It takes hard work.

It takes late nights.

It takes hustle.


These are all important elements of success.

We have a responsibility to guarantee all young people the access they need for them

to meet their full potential.Every young South African deserves access to the world’s information.

For two years in a row South Africa has been named as the leading global destination

for investment in the business process centres, better known as call centres.

That is why we are working with our partners to develop this industry.


Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, for example, identified 60,000 high-skill

digital job vacancies in the local economy, with the potential for 500 000 more by 2030.

Other government activities, such as the digitisation of government processes, provides

opportunities for work experience and employment for young people at scale.

But it is the opportunities that we do not yet know about that are most exciting.

It is about the new industry that is just around the corner, the new product that is waiting

to be created, the new technology that is waiting to be developed.

This 4IR Youth Expo is demonstrating the very many opportunities that exist right now

for young people thanks to technology.

At the same time, it is preparing them for the opportunities that still lie ahead.


It is our shared responsibility to ensure that all the young people of this country have the

skills, knowledge and desire to seize these opportunities and to thereby realise their

great potential.


I thank you


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