Technology giant Huawei has entered a deal with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) that will see ICT transformation capacity in Africa boosted.
According to the penned Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Huawei will provide training on skills development, including reskilling and upskilling for ATU members.
Under the terms agreed in the MoU, the two organizations will also collaborate to support local innovation, share information on latest trends, challenges and solutions in Africa and globally.
The collaboration will also help in expanding the digital economy as well as rural connectivity, in the continent, through furthering research.
World’s data centers
Africa and Latin America together account for less than 5 per cent of the world’s data centers. This is according to a 2019 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on digital economies.
According to the report, divides will worsen existing income inequalities if the matter is left unaddressed. This, coupled with the fact that in least developed countries (LDCs), only one in five people use the Internet as compared with four out of five in developed countries. This is part of the motivation for the Huawei-ATU partnership.
The signing ceremony was held in Nairobi-Kenya at the ATU headquarters. Speaking during the event, ATU Secretary General Mr. John OMO praised Huawei for their contribution to Africa.
“Huawei has transformed connectivity and made a major contribution to the continent through its investments in digital infrastructure, ICT skills, environmentally-friendly connectivity solutions, and cutting-edge technologies for rural areas. The organization is a trusted development partner of Africa. The document we are signing today aims at strengthening this partnership,” he said.
He further noted that Africa has a tremendous opportunity to fully grasp the potential from new technologies.
History of working together
The two organizations have a long history of working together and this new agreement will support African countries, regulators, and citizens benefit from the transition to a digital economy, adopt new technologies, promote secure and resilient networks, and gain the digital skills necessary to drive their economies forward.
Samuel Chen, Vice President at Huawei Southern Africa region thanked the ATU for leadership and promotion of ICTs in Africa.
“The ATU is playing a critical role in the region supporting member countries with their policies and strategies, sharing best practices, building capacity and driving innovation and we are delighted to be able to support them,” he said.
According to him, Huawei has connected hundreds of millions of Africans to secure, high-speed broadband and cloud solutions in the last two decades and earned the trust and support of their customers and regulators, and the company now look forward to doing even more.
According to the MoU, the partners will also start offering cutting-edge trainings to ATU members, access to global experts to discuss the latest technologies and trends, and collaboration on research to help progress the continent’s digitization.
5G high-speed internet
In March this year, Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator Safaricom started trials for 5G high-speed internet network using technology from Nokia and Huawei.
Safaricom, part owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, wants to boost its fast-growing data business, amid increasing demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work and learn from home.
Safaricom said last year it would consider Huawei for its 5G network rollout. The United States has urged countries not to include Huawei in their 5G plans, citing security concerns, which Huawei has denied.
Safaricom is the market leader in the mobile data segment in Kenya, with 67.5% of total users as of last September, statistics from the regulator Communications Authority of Kenya showed.