China's technology giant, Huawei, and the African Union (AU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to consolidate their information and communication technology (ICT) cooperation.
The MoU primarily aims at strengthening partnership between the two sides on broadband, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, 5G and artificial intelligence, according to a statement issued by Huawei late Friday.
The MoU covers ICT project management and delivery in support of African continental ICT development, including cybersecurity, e-health, e-education and other related applications.
Signed for a three-year period by Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the deputy chairperson of the AU Commission, and Philippe Wang, Huawei's vice-president for northern Africa, the latest agreement builds on an MoU signed in February 2015, the statement said.
It aims to establish closer collaboration and information exchange between Huawei and the AU.
Both parties are also working together to source local talent to train them for future digital challenges in the tech ecosystem, the statement said.
It also aims to increase employment opportunities for young people by providing them with ICT knowledge and skills.
The collaboration between the AU and Huawei shows the AU's continuous trust in Huawei, Wang said.
"And by this action should we put a total end to the rumours of data leakage from AU by Huawei equipment, as AU has totally audited their IT system for the whole organization, and nothing corroborates what was said in media reports one year ago," he said.
"Huawei, strategic partner for the digitalization of Africa, is committed to providing the African Union with a unique experience that meets their expectations and needs, especially in terms of technology transfer and connectivity," Wang said.
Quartey, for his part, said the latest agreement will consolidate the partnership between the AU and Huawei.
The two sides will work closely to address challenges facing Africa in the digital transformation, he said.
"Under this agreement, we are pleased to consolidate our existing partnership with Huawei, a leading group in the fields of innovation and technological research," Quartey said. "It is essential that we work closely with our partners to meet the digital transformation challenges of Africa."
Digital transformation offers huge opportunities and will allow connections to be distributed with a high density on the entire African continent, the statement said.
The deployment of new technologies in Africa will also improve the performance of key sectors that have a significant impact on the daily lives of Africans, such as health, transport, media and energy, the statement added.