Huawei Cloud Summit Africa 2020 kicks off

Today, African business leaders and IT experts will meet virtually for a cloud technology summit hosted by Chinese telecommunications giant

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Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Today, African business leaders and IT experts will meet virtually for a cloud technology summit hosted by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

The event aims to explore cloud business opportunities in finance, energy, manufacturing, mining and other sectors across the continent. The technological innovations are promoted as a facilitation of the “fourth industrial revolution” across Africa, arriving two weeks after the UK decided to ban Huawei from its 5G networks.

Expect the summit to further amplify business opportunities for Huawei, especially via government contracts on the construction of data centres and the augmentation of data capacity. Huawei equipment is more affordable than that of its European and Korean competitors and often comes with Chinese-government-backed concessional financing for purchases by African governments.

Today’s meeting is a testament to the uphill battle the US faces in its discouragement of Huawei’s African integration. Unless Washington agrees to fund alternatives to Huawei, developing African nations are unlikely to follow the UK in banning Huawei from their next-generation telecommunications networks. However, as South Africa and Lesotho are the only African countries with commercially available 5G services, the issue will likely be relegated to the back burner for the foreseeable future.

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