5G is a huge economic opportunity for African countries, and the continent as a whole is well positioned to take advantage of the new technology.
This is according to the President of International Sales at ZTE, Xiao Ming, who spoke at GSMA Thrive Africa on 29 September 2020.
Thanks to the demographic dividend and the rapid popularization of smart phones, the number of mobile Internet users in Africa is growing rapidly, which has led to a boom of new services such as mobile payment, instant messaging, online streaming media and short video.
Africa is now experiencing a critical period of digital transformation and development of digital economy. In the next few years, digital technologies are expected to be the key in improving African people’s quality of life and driving economic development in the region.
Ming said that ZTE has absolute confidence that Africa can take advantage of new technologies like 5G.
“We are working hard with strategic partners to ensure Africa is not left behind in the 5G era,” said Ming.
“ZTE’s vision in Africa is to bridge the digital divide and build a sustainable digital Africa.”
Several technologies that can create new jobs and grow local economies are enabled by high speed communications technology like 5G. These include smart agriculture, manufacturing automation, smart mining, improved logistics and transportation, and real-time access to education and healthcare services.
One of the biggest challenges to making this technology widely available and bridging the digital divide remains the readiness of infrastructure throughout different African countries in Africa, Ming said.
Since not all networks are at the same level, Ming said that ZTE continues to work with its operator customers to make sure that their short-term investments in 3G and 4G are in-line with the evolution path of 5G.
“We are excited to help realise the African digital transformation with partners like MTN,” said Ming.
Ming highlighted two areas that ZTE is focusing on in Africa.
The first is ensuring that communication services and access to the digital economy is affordable to the people of Africa.
ZTE makes this happen through offering a diverse selection of smart devices at a variety of price points, and through offering network deals that helps operators keep the cost of services in their markets at a very reasonable level.
The second area ZTE has focused on is investing in Africa’s local talent.
“We want the digital transformation to be sustainable. That is why we invest into training and education, support innovation and foster a local ecosystem of developers,” Ming said.
ZTE recently opened its fifth innovation and training centre in Africa, he added.
“We remain hopeful that a digital Africa will be realised at full speed.”
This article was published in partnership with ZTE.