Huawei can help South Africa grow innovation: Minister

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South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies said it is necessary to collaborate with global companies like Huawei to grow innovation in the ICT sector as the country moves into the era of digitization.

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 (WSU), Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams 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,"said the minister.

"Huawei has been a willing partner with our department and the South African government, from 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," she said.

"SMEs play an important role in the journey towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as they are the enterprises that are most innovative, most capable of absorbing labor and contribute to creating competition in the economy. We believe that 5G technology has great potential to improve and grow small businesses," said Spawn Fan, Huawei South Africa CEO.

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.

The training 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. It 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.

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