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Minister asks ICT firms to come to the table

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Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams heads up the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams heads up the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.

Collaboration and partnerships with global ICT companies can boost SA’s ICT sector and talent pool, as the country moves into the era of digitisation.

This is the word from communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, speaking on the occasion of her department’s 5G training mission with Huawei at Walter Sisulu University (WSU).

In partnership with the Chinese technology giant, the communications and digital technologies ministry conducted 5G training for 100 final-year IT students at WSU at the weekend.

“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,” noted Ndabeni-Abrahams.

“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 SA CEO Spawn Fan noted: “SMMEs play an important role in the journey towards 4IR [the fourth industrial revolution], as they are the enterprises that are most innovative, most capable of absorbing labour and contribute to creating competition in the economy. We believe 5G technology has great potential to improve and grow small businesses.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams’s department is looking to equip a million young people with data science and related skills by 2030.

Last year, the department confirmed partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Google, NEMISA, Digital Opportunities Trust and IBM, to assist in training, skilling and reskilling citizens, especially the youth, in digital astuteness.

The ministry also has a memorandum of understanding in place with Huawei, to contribute to capacity-building, ICT talent training and joint innovation on ICT.

For young people to understand the possibilities of 5G and 4IR technologies, Huawei last year introduced a free training programme for up to 5 000 students online, and 1 000 on-site at partner universities across SA.

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