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MoE ink USD 20 million project with Inspur Group

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Chinese Inspur Group Limited Company have inked a 20-million-dollar project agreement that aims to help prov ide quality education in 300 secondary schools and 10 universities in different regions of the country using modern information technology system of cloud infrastructures.

Tilaye Gete (PhD), state minister of MoE, and Richard Wang, general manager of Inspur Group Limited Company in Ethiopia, signed the agreement on Tuesday at the meeting hall of the ministry.

During the signing ceremony it was disclosed that though the project received no objection from the World Bank (WB) – the body that administers the project – the signing agreement, which was scheduled to take place on September 30, was delayed because of a complaint that came from one of the bidders Huawei Technologies, another Chinese company.

Huawei Technologies mainly complained about the efficiency of Inspur Group and attached various documents as evidence that the company provided false documents to win the bid. According to Huawei, the documents provided by the company that it has undertaken similar projects in Venezuela, Tanzania, Kenya and Argentina are false and requested the cancellation of the bid.

However, the state minister and other officials at MoE argued that they have reviewed the entire document submitted by Inspur and found nothing that could force them to cancel the bid.

“We have been reviewing the document submitted to us by Inspur Group. The minister himself conducted a meeting with all stakeholders in the bid to review the document. However, there was no ground to cancel the bid and that’s why we are signing the agreement today,” he said.

According to the state minister, the project is expected to benefit close to one million students and teachers at secondary schools and 100,000 students and teachers in universities.

The government has given special attention to improve information and communications technology, he said, adding that this project would contribute to quality education by benefiting both students and teachers.

He added that the money was secured through loan and grant from development partners and the WB supervises the project.

Inspur Group General Manager Richard Wang on his part said that Inspur Group has a rich experience in China and other African countries to enhance general education system. He said that the company is committed to complete the project within the timetable that is eighteen months.

In May 2015, MoE announced the tender to buy mainly networking equipment for 10 universities and 300 high schools across the country, and the other bidders included the two Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE, as well as a German company, Cancom.