A South African business executive was a leading panellist in an international symposium on good practices in corporate innovation and partnership convened by Britain’s Prince Charles.

The meeting at St James’s Palace, London, on Wednesday 11th December was organised by The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and attended by 90 business and community leaders from 17 countries. Four members of the board of the Digital Partnership

South Africa attended to represent South Africa and present their involvement in the Digital Partnership South Africa as an international example of a business lead partnership to bring affordable access to information technology for education and development.

Vodacom Foundation Chairman, Mthobi Tyamzashe, spoke of how South Africa’s leading mobile phone company Vodacom was backing the Digital Partnership to train teachers in use of computers in provinces. The Effectiveness Company CEO, Suzanne Ravenall, spoke of the importance of developing management and marketing skills, using experienced business executives, for projects to achieve scale to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities.

Oracle SA head of corporate affairs, Ike Ngwena, spoke of how IT partnerships could help address poverty, and how collaboration through projects such as the Digital Partnership could deliver learning resources to teachers. Microsoft SA Director, Garry Hodgson spoke of the provision by Microsoft of software for e.Learning Centres in schools, and how partnership enabled all companies to deliver more than they could on their own.

A video presented to the symposium included a sequence with RSA Director General of Communications, Andile Ngcabe, speaking at the launch of the Digital Partnership South Africa in Johannesburg last October on the importance of the partnership programme to Southern Africa, and of pilot e.Learning centres established by the Digital Partnership in South Africa.

The symposium concluded that many of the partnership programmes associated with the IBLF from around the world in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Russia, India, Thailand and Vietnam as well as South Africa, were demonstrating innovation and effective partnership approaches. The challenge was to achieve greater scale and business engagement and it was noted that the Digital Partnership South Africa had many of the features required to achieve scale and impact.