Southern Africa confident on Y2K readiness

Barely two months before judgment day for year-2000 compliance, regional reports here are sounding more positive about the readiness of southern Africa, despite the perception elsewhere that the region is a high-risk zone.

Recent reports published in Cape Town, South Africa, and Gaborone, Botswana, by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) say that the six critical sectors including electricity, transportation, customs and immigration, telecommunication and utilities have emerged from the high-danger list.

According to Morghan Sithole, an official of Southern African Power Pool, readiness throughout southern Africa is considered very high in the utility sectors. While he alleviated fears of a power crash, he said that the great doubt now lies in how the public may react in case of any service interruptions come December 31. Sithole added that experts from South Africa have found that companies in the region have very reliable contingency plans in place.

Another Pretoria-based expert, Fereil Bowers, made a similar declaration in another SADC forum in Cape Town in the past fortnight. Though progress is slow in some countries, SADC officials are nevertheless optimistic that their region will pass the Y2K test better than other regions of Africa. From this, they hope to build stronger investor confidence in the area, and in fact use their Y2K success to boost foreign direct investment.

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