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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

ICT can drive Tanzania to greater heights

13th November 2012

ICT is an enabler of technology innovation, driving social and economic development, and creating value for individuals and society as a whole.

Advancements in ICT and the deployment of networks enable greater opportunities for development, access to information and more open communication.

We have seen companies in the ICT sector striving to bridge the digital divide - so everyone can afford to enjoy the benefits of communications. Some have moved farther to shift their focus from ‘a phone for everyone’ to ‘broadband for everyone’, to enable users to tap the infinite possibilities that a connected world presents.

It is no doubt that ICT is the most active driving force for innovation. However as ICT continues to change the way of our living, the industry must focus on enhancing the user experience and value creation in order to drive social and economic development.

We have seen how a stronger ICT innovation can help promotes greater convenience in our daily lives and in countries that ICT has been taken seriously; it helps enterprises and governments boost efficiency.

An even more significant contribution of ICT, however, is how it provides the means and opportunity for equal access to information for people around the world, thereby bridging not just the digital gap, but the knowledge gap as well. By delivering knowledge to local communities, ICT enables social progress and sustainable development.

It is against this background that I managed to have a one-on-one interview with Zhang Yong Quan, Managing Director of Huawei Technologies in Tanzania -one of the companies that have taken ICT to another level and has also penetrated into many countries- in order to know their activities in Tanzania and how their presence will change the lives of locals and their consumers.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself?

ANSWER: I am a humble man with over 13 years’ experience in the ICT industry and a background in Computer Engineering. My performance in this sector earned me a position as Managing Director of Huawei in Tanzania effective March 2012.

Q: Tell us, who is Huawei?

A: Huawei is a leading global ICT solutions Provider, Serving 45 of the world's top 50 operators, and one third (1/3) of the world’s population. A Fortune Global 500 company, Huawei has operations in more than 140 countries, with 14 Regional Headquarters.

Q: When was Huawei founded globally, and when did you establish operations in Tanzania?

A: Huawei was founded in 1987, in Shenzhen China, where our headquarters are located. Huawei has been in Tanzania since 2001, providing innovative ICT solutions in partnership with operators and government to enrich the lives of people of Tanzania through Telecommunication.

Q: How has Huawei performed financially?

A: Last year, our global sales revenue was $32.4 Billion; Compound average growth rate is 22 per cent in past five years. USD 3.42 billion for Africa, and a 15 per cent growth year-over-year. Sustainable financial growth will help us to establish long-term partnership with our customer and provide better service to our customer.

Q: Tell us about your business in Tanzania.

A: In Tanzania, Huawei has enriched lives through communication in:

Carrier Network (Operators e.g. 2G, transmission), Consumer (Devices e.g. modems, handsets), and Enterprise (Enterprises and government e.g. data center, telepresence) business groups to provide end-to-end integrated solutions.

The products of GSM/CDMA/Transmission/Terminals from Huawei have been widely adopted in Tanzania Market, serving for TTCL, Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Zantel and Government organizations. Nowadays the annual revenue of Huawei Tanzania is about 100Million USD.

Our company provided transmission equipments for the Tanzania's national optical backbone network in 2009, making Tanzania’s information highway

To promote quality and affordable user experience through our devices, Huawei has brought into the Tanzania market data cards/modems, smartphones e.g. Huawei IDEOS, Huawei Sonic, Huawei Ascend Y200, and Huawei Torres, and Tablets such as Huawei S7 Slim, and Huawei Media pad

Q: What is your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy for Tanzania if any?

A: From corporate point of view, our commitment on CSR is focusing on six domains:

1. Bridging the digital divide. This is done through expanding communications coverage, elevating local telecommunications expertise and narrowing broadband gap

2. Fair operation; we do this through having a transparent sales, transparent procurement and building a harmonious business environment

3. Employee; we encourage recruiting dedicated employees who form the foundation of our growth, we have programs that look into employees’ occupational health and safety, employee career path and growth and our company is proud to have open communication channels.

4. Environmental protection; we have green communications, green Huawei, and green world

5. Supply chain; in this segment, we strive to improving CSR awareness and capability of Huawei and its supply chain and also strengthen supply chain CSR management.

6. Community support; here we have programs that look into disaster relief efforts, social welfare contributions and we engage local community in activities that aims at changing their loves to the better.

In Tanzania, Huawei has been involved in: Bridging the Digital Divide- Computer Donation to secondary schools in regional area in Tanzania.

We have been contributing to local communities through sponsoring of Half-Marathon activity with Vodacom.

In education/knowledge transfer, we have been making donation for the construction and development of secondary schools in Zanzibar.

We are going to be more focusing on talent training in ICT field in Tanzania. And we are going to launch a long term ICT talent training plan “Huawei ICT Star” together with Tanzania ministry of communication, science and technology this November (year 2012). We hope to continue investing in CSR initiatives to ensure more Tanzania people share in the Huawei’s success.

Q. What is your take on developing ICT skills in Tanzania in bridging the knowledge gap?

A: Through our ”Huawei ICT Star” Program for Tanzania Education, Huawei is committed to promote knowledge transfer to promote local talent in Tanzania so that they can be able to compete on the same level with pears globally. This will be made possible through hands-on training in our resources which include one R&D center and seven training centers in Africa.

This will include: Facilitating experts for training, Huawei certification programs, career mentorship programs for ICT students, Internship programs, supporting research projects and donation of ICT equipment to schools and Universities.

Q. In Summary, what is Huawei’s Investment in Tanzania:

A: As a global company with local presence, Huawei’s investment in Tanzania can be seen in different areas:

• Innovative Solutions: Huawei is optimistic in long-term investment in Tanzania communication industry; through provision of the latest and innovative technologies through our global pipe strategy at competitive prices to contribute to the economic growth of the country. This will enhance competitiveness in the local ICT industry

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