[ACCI-CAVIE] Telecommunications giant MTN Group and information and communications technology (ICT) group Huawei have joined forces to strengthen strategic cooperation in environmental, social and governance matters.
Under the new memorandum of understanding, which aligns with MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy and Huawei’s Corporate Sustainability Development strategy, including its TECH4ALL initiative, the duo will work to close the gap on rural coverage, bolster digital skills and deliver more sustainable solutions.
“Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress can only be achieved through the power of partnerships,” says MTN Group chief sustainability & corporate affairs officer Nompilo Morafo.
“Working with companies like Huawei, we can pool our technologies and expertise to drive greater access to connectivity, digital skills and greener and more sustainable solutions to the benefit of all.”
Huawei expects to work closely with MTN Group on rural coverage, reaching net zero and digital skills training, says Huawei supervisory board member and carrier BG president Li Peng.
“We believe that digital technology will become an important force driving social development and making the world more inclusive and sustainable.”
The partnership agreement aims to accelerate efforts to reach more rural and remote communities and to broaden the portfolio of available digital skills training.
The Huawei DigiTruck, a solar-powered mobile classroom converted from a used shipping container and equipped with laptops, smartphones and fourth-generation connectivity, provides free training in digital skills for those in need, including rural communities, the elderly, the unemployed and girls and women in particular.
The 1 900 Huawei ICT Academies, which train university students in ICT skills such as fifth-generation, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, serves about 150 000 students across 110 countries each year.
MTN’s Skills Academy, meanwhile, aims to enhance the link between digital skills training and demand for jobs to ensure that people across the continent are producers, consumers and innovators of digital technologies.
Further, with a significant portion of Africa’s population living in rural areas, MTN is committed to expanding its network to underserved communities and reaching a target of 95% rural broadband coverage by 2025.
It is expected that the partnership with Huawei will support the achievement of this target, as well as the approach to expand the number of collaborations and the types of partnership models followed.
MTN and Huawei are also collaborating on deploying RuralStar, an affordable connectivity solution for providing online access to remote and rural communities.
“The solution overcomes traditional barriers that make network connectivity in such scenarios unviable for carriers. The parties will extend their collaboration following the completion of the first RuralStar proof-of-concept in Ghana in 2017,” the companies said in a statement.
In terms of reducing carbon emissions, Huawei will support MTN’s commitment to minimise the impact on the planet and achieve net zero by 2040.
The partners will work on decarbonising MTN’s telecommunications infrastructure, spanning radio access network sites, transport networks, storage and data centres.
Network decarbonisation will be done through a mix of energy efficiency technologies and the application of innovative green solutions.
By Natasha Odendaal and LB