Collaborates with AAU to launch ICT excellence center
A global ICT solutions provider and one of the two hundred Chinese companies operating in Ethiopia, Huawei Technologies, is set to formally hand over the ongoing telecom expansion project to the state-run monopoly Ethio Telecom, it was learnt.
John Xu, CEO of Huawei Ethiopia, told The Reporter that the company has finalized the installations of telecom networks envisaged under the national telecom expansion project, which the telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, had co-awarded to Huawei and ZTE, another global Chinese telecom contractor, and later to Eriksson, which was anticipated to expand the capacity of the telecom operator from its 20 million capacity to today’s 80 million.
This is the second nation-wide expansion project which seeks to expand the reach of 3G and 4G (in Addis Ababa) estimated to cost Ethio Telecom some 1.6 billion dollars. Initially, the project was awarded to the two Chinese telecom giants however, due to some delays observed in the execution of the project which awarded to ZTE, the government has decided to award a slice of the ZTE’s portion with Eriksson.
According to Xu, all the necessary network expansion works have been finalized except for some work that needs to be completed before official handover.
In line with this timetable, Debretsion Gebremichael, minister of Communications and Information Technology and coordinator of the economic cluster with the portfolio of deputy prime minister, has been busy heading internal meetings with his staff across the nation, The Reporter has learnt. According to sources, the minister is chairing numerous meetings focusing on the implementation of the upcoming expansion projects, expected to be completed before conclusion of the second five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II).
Andualem Admassie, CEO of Ethio Telecom, in his recent interview with The Reporter had mentioned that a new expansion project is on the verge of rolling out and so far some 14 companies have submitted their expression of intents. That process has currently entered into a technical evaluation stage, Xu said.
In a related news, Huawei has keenly introduced 15 days of short-term trainings and travel opportunities for young ICT practitioners and students in Africa. Dubbed “seeds for the future,” the program, is sponsored by the Chinese ICT solutions provide, seeks to extend training opportunities to some 1,000 Africans. In the country, so far, 50 students and 30 African Union Commission staff have benefited from the trip to Shenzhen city, one of the major cities in Guangdong province in China, in some respects referred to as the silicon valley of China where the headquarters of Huawei is located.
This year, 12 students from Addis Ababa University’s Institute of Technology (AAIT) have been able to get scholarship opportunity. During their stay, the students visited the capital, Beijing, to have a glimpse of Chinese culture and get acquainted with the language.
Apart from that, the AAIT is collaborating with Huawei to establish a center of excellence for the ICT sector.
Esayas G. Yohannes (PhD), executive director of AAIT, told The Reporter that the institute is currently finalizing the deal with Huawei. In addition to serving as an ICT excellence center, the institute is also equipped with an ICT lab installed by the Korean Samsung in the campus, located on King George IV Street, around the national museum.
According to Esayas, the institute currently runs centers of excellence in the energy, logistics, and highways disciplines. Moreover, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded millions of dollars to AAIT to launch an East African railway technology training center which will enable the institute to recruit students in the region. That said, 20 to 25 trainees are to be accommodated annually, he added.