Department of Communications and Digital Technology Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams believes partnering with global companies like Huawei is crucial to the development of the South African technology sector.
Ndabeni-Abrahams’s comments follow the UK approving the use of Huawei equipment in its mobile networks, despite the US placing trade restrictions on the company.
“It is very important that we understand that through collaboration with global companies like Huawei, we can build on and enhance the ideas that we have,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“That is why when we choose partners, we choose those who are already advanced and that can take us as South Africa to the next level. We want to shift from being a tender-driven state to an innovative state.”
Ndabeni-Abrahams added Huawei is one of the leading companies in the telecoms space.
“That’s why we say to them, as you grow, lift us, so that we can complement you in what you are doing, in favour of our national interests, as we seek to acquire all the new technologies that we need,” she said.
Huawei South Africa CEO Spawn Fan added to this by saying their technology is positioned to help South Africa’s SMMEs innovate and grow.
“They are the enterprises that are most innovative, most capable of absorbing labour and contribute to creating competition in the economy. We believe that 5G technology has the potential to improve and grow small businesses,” said Fan.
Huawei 5G training
Both the Huawei SA CEO and Ndabeni-Abrahams made the comments at a community stakeholder engagement meeting following the launch of Huawei’s free 5G training courses at Walter Sisulu University.
“The 5G training is designed to enable students to understand 5G protocol standardisation, key industry applications, ecosystems, network architecture and key technologies,” said the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
Ndabeni-Abrahams said Huawei has been a willing partner of the Department as well as the South African government.
This includes a memorandum of understanding between Huawei and the Department, which supports capacity building, ICT talent training, and innovation.
“We have agreed to partner to ensure that our people are exposed to skills transfer to understand and use these new technologies to improve our economy and contribute to growing the GDP,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Fan said the company is proud to partner with Walter Sisulu University and the Department of Communications and Digital Technology for this initiative.
“We appreciate that Walter Sisulu University is a developmental university, focused on urban renewal and rural development through science, technology, and innovation – which aligns perfectly with Huawei’s vision,” said Fan.
“Digital skills transfer is critical for today’s students to gain capabilities relevant in the emerging 4IR era. This era is underpinned by the mass connectivity of 5G – hence Huawei’s commitment to 5G training,” Fan said.
The programme began in 2019 at Wits University and the University of Pretoria and is expected to train up to 5,000 students online and 1,000 on-site at partner universities across South Africa.
Photographs from the meeting are below.