The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese tech giant Huawei that will see African countries and organizations build capacity for ICT transformation.
Under the agreement, Huawei will provide training on skills development, including reskilling and upskilling for ATU members.
The MoU will also see the two organizations collaborate to support local innovation, share information on the latest trends, challenges and solutions in Africa and globally, and expand the digital economy as well as rural connectivity, in the continent, through furthering research.
Digital Transformation is Vital for Africa
A 2019 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on digital economies established that Africa and Latin America together account for less than 5 per cent of the world’s data centres.
If left unaddressed, the report concluded, divides will worsen existing income inequalities. This, coupled with the fact that in the least developed countries (LDCs), only one in five people use the Internet as compared with four out of five in developed countries, is part of the motivation for the Huawei-ATU partnership.
“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,” says John Omo, Secretary-General of the ATU, speaking during the signing ceremony held yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya at the ATU headquarters.
“The organization is a trusted development partner of Africa. The document we are signing today aims at strengthening this partnership.”
Omo praised Huawei for its contribution to Africa.
“Africa has a tremendous opportunity to fully grasp the potential from new technologies,” he added.
Huawei and ATU Seek to Boost African Countries, Regulators and Citizens
The two organizations have a long history of working together and the ATU believes this new agreement will support African countries, regulators, and citizens in benefitting from the transition to a digital economy, adopting new technologies, promoting secure and resilient networks, and gaining the digital skills necessary to drive their economies forward.
“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,” says Samuel Chen, VP at Huawei Southern Africa, thanking the ATU for leadership and promotion of ICTs in Africa.
“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,” Chen noted.
According to the MoU, the partners will also start offering cutting-edge training 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.