Visit the South African National Department of Health’s online resource and news portal for more information regarding COVID-19: www.sacoronavirus.co.za

How DBSA powers rural communities through tech infrastructure development

It is expected for any emerging and developing nation like South Africa to face challenges that impact economic development and growth. These challenges are due to various factors such as lack of or collapsing infrastructure and unsustainable means of operations. This inadvertently causes disruption and unequal distribution of basic public services.

The rural communities bear the brunt of inequality, which keeps the population living in extreme poverty and lacking access to basic services such as electricity. Many reports have recorded a huge lack of electricity in rural areas in South Africa. To mitigate the risks and ensure inclusive and sustainable development and growth, a mechanism of change must be followed. 

Technology is a crucial multiplier of growth because it allows easy access to modernised infrastructure. This infrastructure, also known as technology infrastructure (IT infrastructure), supports energy supply and distribution. 

What is IT infrastructure?

Information technology infrastructure refers to a set of components such as hardware, software, and network resources integral to operations. IT infrastructure projects are targeted at developing IT infrastructure in communities that are identified through IT infrastructure research. 

There are many rural areas without electricity in South Africa, which means that the priority for development in these areas is electricity infrastructure. 

What is electricity infrastructure?

Electricity infrastructure is crucial in keeping the lights on in all communities in South Africa. It includes a network of wires, towers, dams, and turbines that powers socio-economic practices. 

For many years, South Africa has faced numerous obstacles with the provision of power. As a result, there’s been an implementation of power outages, commonly referred to as load-shedding, to manage electricity supply. This causes a lot of disruption to the normal operation of society. 

DBSA’s role in electricity infrastructure development

As one of Africa’s leading development finance institutions, the DBSA is responsible for accelerating electricity infrastructure development to ensure sufficient municipal electricity distribution in rural areas. We’re committed to facilitating the growth of Southern Africa’s energy supply to ensure its security. We support the government in ensuring adequate expansion and maintenance of electricity to support economic growth and social development goals. 

Through the IPP Programme and the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme, DBSA has played a fundamental role in developing projects aimed at electricity generation in rural areas. 

The DBSA recognises that the rural areas and some areas with high population density also lack sufficient connectivity. Therefore, we also facilitate the implementation of infrastructure programmes within the IT space. We’re driving opportunities through projects such as the Internet 4All programme in Africa, SA Connect and municipal connections. Thus far, notable success includes implementing undersea cables that connect Africa with the rest of the world. These sea cables cover four connectivity corridors; Africa-Europe, Africa-Latin America-US, Africa-Asia and Africa-region. This has enhanced global connectivity and has stimulated opportunities to address the gaps in the access network.  

Final thoughts

To keep the promise of building an inclusive socio-economic state, the government relies on supportive resources to help develop the infrastructure necessary to bridge the gap and lift the population out of poverty. DBSA’s primary role is to improve people’s quality of life through the development of socio-economic infrastructure. 

Ensuring access to connectivity and access to electricity in South Africa’s most vulnerable areas, like the rural areas, is critical in tackling the challenges of inequality. Furthermore, using technology advancements amplifies the development and maintenance of ICT and electricity infrastructure. In turn, this gives these communities the power to identify growth opportunities through networking, skills development and job creation. 

DBSA’s development position is to drive inclusive growth and find innovative solutions to stimulate socio-economic development across the African continent.

The provision of electricity, among other tech advancements, play an integral role in empowering rural communities. This article will highlight various tech infrastructure developments that the DBSA have employed to ensure social and economic development in rural areas.