The South African government has announced its launching of the country’s own official app store, DigiTech, aimed at promoting the adoption of applications developed in South Africa.
South Africa’s Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, spoke at the official launch of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ (DCDT’s) digital platform at Gallagher Convention Centre claiming that DigiTech is South Africa’s first app store.
The app store will showcase homegrown applications and will be available to applications across the country as well as nearby regions with the platform set to expand its reach into Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, and other countries across sub-Saharan Africa in September 2022.
The launch comes as the country’s ICT sector commemorates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2022, with the theme this year being “digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing”, focused at assisting people remain fit.
DigiTech will be operated by the South African government and will enable users to browse and download approved apps developed across different operating systems with the aim to further promote South African-developed digital products to expand their adoption and use.
The platform currently features 27 apps including The Godfathers Of Deep House, a music and locally-produced content app; HN CitiPages, a social media app; Guardian Health, a medical resource platform; Senso, a sound assistance app for deaf people; and Boxfusion, an automated administrative tool.
During the conference, Ntshavheni pleaded with the ICT industry stakeholders to support local products that are on the platform, saying: “This platform will not work or achieve its objective if all of us don’t support it.”
“Africa is going to be the largest market in the next 10 years. The African market cannot consume that which is not made in Africa,” she added.
DCDT deputy minister Philly Mapulane was also present at the launch event and explained that the National Development Plan (NDP) sets an ambition that visualises an estimated 90% of expected 11 million new jobs by 2030 being unlocked by SMMEs.
“In order to realise this ambition of the NDP, deliberate interventions need to be made, particularly in the technology sector,” he stated.
“As part of its contribution to unlocking this opportunity for real and sustainable jobs for SMMEs, the department has developed the DigiTech portal. Through this portal, we seek to promote South Africa’s own-developed products in other markets, while facilitating partnerships with other organisations on the core promotion of local technologies.”