Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams, who heads the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies, has stressed the need for partnerships and collaboration with global companies like Huawei to grow innovation in the SA ICT sector as the country moves into the era of digitisation.
Speaking during a community stakeholder engagement in Mthatha, after the launch of Huawei’s free 5G training for ICT students at the Walter Sisulu University, the Minister said; “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.”
“That is why when we choose partners, we choose those who are already advanced and that can take us, South Africa, to the next level. 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.”
“Huawei has been a willing partner with our department and the South African government, from a digital skills perspective we have sought to partner with Huawei 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. “
The Mthatha community stakeholder event was attended by various stakeholders, ranging from academia to local business, during which speakers and the Minister outlined the opportunities presented by emerging technologies.
Huawei SA CEO, Spawn Fan said, “SMMEs play an important role in the journey towards 4IR, as 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 great potential to improve and grow small businesses.”
Earlier in the day, Fan addressed students at the WSU 5G training launch, outlining the importance 5G would play in fast-tracking much needed economic growth and why they should start engaging with the opportunities that 5G and the digital economy would bring.
Huawei and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) have a memorandum of understanding in place that supports capacity building, ICT talent training and joint innovation on ICT.
Earlier on Friday, as part of their partnership to equip South African students to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Huawei and the Ministry launched a free 5G training programme at Walter Sisulu University (WSU). The launch is part of an ongoing campaign by Huawei to help South Africa’s young people understand the possibilities of 5G while giving them the skills to realise that vision.
The programme started at Wits University and the University of Pretoria last year and will train up to 5 000 students online, and 1 000 on-site at partner universities across South Africa.