IE Singapore leads mission to study e-government sector in Africa

SINGAPORE - Ten Singapore companies are visiting southern Africa as part of a business mission led by trade agency IE Singapore.

The mission, which ends on Friday, aims to help Singapore firms explore business opportunities in e-Government as more African governments adopt such solutions to attract foreign investment and spur private-sector growth.

The delegation visited Botswana and South Africa, which are among the leading adopters of e-Gov solutions in Africa, said IE Singapore in a press release on Thursday. The companies explored the application of e-Gov systems in southern Africa, across sectors such as infrastructure, communications, healthcare, transport, and trade and business services.

Among the companies represented on the trip is ST Electronics, which has a branch office in Botswana and which has worked on e-Government solutions in the areas of aviation and home land security.

"We hope to expand our presence in Botswana, and leverage its strategic location to expand our business into the surrounding southern African countries," said ST Electronics Botswana general manager Max Thiam.

This comes as more foreign investors are putting money in Africa, encouraged by the continent's growing political and economic stability.

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rise from 4.7 per cent in 2013 to 5.2 per cent this year, according to the World Bank, while foreign direct investments are estimated to reach a record US$80 billion this year.

"A central component of investor confidence in Africa today is increased transparency and governance efficiency, enabled by the adoption of eGov solutions," IE Singapore's group director for the Middle East and Africa G. Jayakrishnan.

"There is a clear opportunity for Singapore to contribute to Africa's development needs in this area. This mission is an important step in our efforts in southern Africa. "