The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with tech giant Huawei to boost digital transformation capacity for member countries in Africa.
Through the collaboration, Huawei will help accelerate digital transformation in Africa by providing skills development training for ATU members, support local innovation, expand rural connectivity and helping to boost the continent’s digital economy.
A 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on digital economies revealed that, Africa and Latin America together account for less than 5% of the world’s data centres.
If left unaddressed, the report noted that this will worsen existing income inequalities, 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, which is partly what motivated for the ATU-Huawei partnership.
Commenting, John Omo, Secretary-General of the ATU said, “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 document we are signing aims at strengthening this partnership. Africa has a tremendous opportunity to fully grasp the potential from new technologies,” he added.
Omo further stated that ATU and Huawei 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 saying, “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.”
“We have 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 our customers and regulators; we look forward to doing even more,” concluded Chen.