Facilities like the Huawei Innovation Centre must cultivate a culture of local innovation, focusing on knowledge and skills transfer, as well as small and medium enterprise (SME) development.
This is according to president Cyril Ramaphosa, voicing hopes the innovation centre will be a springboard for the launch of new local ICT enterprises that create jobs.
The ICT sector has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth, with stats showing revenue in South Africa’s ICT sector grew over 7% during 2022.
Ramaphosa and his administration have been vocal on the need for SA to cultivate a flourishing digital ecosystem,to beat the country’s unemployment woes.
Huawei’s Innovation Centre, situation at its Woodmead office park, was officially opened yesterday, in the presence of Ramaphosa, as well as a delegation that included the ministers of small business and transport, and the police and communications deputy ministers.
Described as Huawei’s first innovation centre on the African continent, the facility brings together the company’s different business units: consumer, enterprise, carrier and cloud computing.
Its focus is to encourage joint innovation with Huawei SA’s partners, app developers and SMEs in the ICT space, according to the company.
The facility features Huawei’s digital technologies and solutions in 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and renewable energy.
Furthermore, the centre aims to boost local digital talent through programmes, such as the LEAP digital talent, ICT academies and Tech4All-DigiSchool projects.
Speaking at the opening, Leo Chen, president of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We’ve been encouraged by the South African government’s strong vision for its digital economy.
“South Africa is becoming a role model for the continent, as well as on the global stage, in fields such as 5G deployment and 5G-driven industrial digital transformation.”
Chen indicated Huawei is committed to contributing more to the country’s ICT infrastructure development and industry digitisation by introducing the latest technologies to South Africa.
“Huawei will continuously contribute to training South Africa’s young people, so they can participate in and benefit from the digital economy.”
Chinese ambassador Chen Xiaodong said the launch of the Huawei Innovation Centre in Africa shows the Chinese private business sector and players are ready to stand by SA’s side to accelerate the 5G application and jointly embrace the fourth industrial revolution.
Ramaphosa also believes facilities like the innovation centre, along with the adoption of a range of cutting-edge technologies, will enable SA and the wider African continent to leapfrog into Industry 4.0.
“Digital innovation is inextricably linked to a nation’s development. Not only can new digital technologies − such as AI, big data and machine learning − provide a platform for economic growth, job creation and self-employment, they can also vastly improve government service delivery.”
ITWeb was invited to tour the facility before yesterday’s official opening. Join the tour by watching this video.