Huawei, ATU deal set to speed up Africa’s shift into digital economy

Tech heavyweight Huawei has entered into an agreement to boost the ICT capacity for countries across Africa as they transition into a digital economy.

The company has partnered with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to support local innovation by sharing information on the latest trends with a view to develop the digital economy across the continent.

In the deal, Huawei will also help address ICT challenges in Africa by helping bridge the gap in rural connectivity besides undertaking research for ATU member countries.

A 2019 survey by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on digital economies shows that Africa and Latin America together account for less than five per cent of the world’s data centers.

If this disproportion is left unaddressed, the report said, the technology divide will exacerbate prevailing income disparities across the world.

The Huawei-ATU partnership also seeks to help increase Internet connectivity for people across Africa. At the moment, four out of five people in the developed world use the Internet compared to one in five people in the developing countries.

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“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,” said Mr John OMO, Secretary-General ATU after signing the Memorandum of Understanding today in Nairobi.

He added: “Africa has a tremendous opportunity to fully grasp the potential from new technologies.”

Huawei and ATU have a long working relationship and this new agreement will support African countries, regulators, and citizens to benefit from the transition to a digital economy, adopt new technologies, promote secure and resilient networks, and gain critical digital skills to drive their economies.

Samuel Chen, Vice President at Huawei Southern Africa region noted: “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”.

Huawei has helped connect 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 our customers and regulators, Mr Chen added, saying: “we look forward to doing even more”.

According to the MoU, the tech giant will also offer cutting-edge training to ATU members, access to global experts to discuss the latest technologies and trends, and collaboration on research to help accelerate the continent’s digitization plan.

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