The importance of collaboration to Africa’s digital growth trajectory was underlined at the recent AfricaCom conference, which took place in Cape Town from 13 to 16 November.

Opening the technology conference, which is the largest in Africa, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Mondli Gungubele spoke about how important digital infrastructure will be in growing economies across the continent. Partnerships, he said, will be crucial to unlocking this growth.

Mondli Gungubele, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies

“As we transcend this journey of meaningful digital connectivity,” he said, “we hope to see more emerging opportunities in the telecoms and networking industry than before, with focus on improving network connectivity in Africa, ensuring more SMMEs and new players build their businesses in Africa, and greater collaborative partnership in fibre and cloud services.”

“It is estimated rollout of fibre-optic backbone increases the GDP of African countries by up to 5%; further it increase productivity and efficiency,” he added. “We released South Africa’s Fibre Broadband Initiative – unpacking the vision towards a gigabit Society in South Africa. This is a collaborative work between Digital Africa Council, Africa Analysis, the Department and Huawei: a great example of government-industry collaboration.”

“Huawei also supported the deployment of high-speed internet to Mount Kilimanjaro.

These partnerships are great example of meaningful collaboration, affirming that Africa remains a great investment destination hub,” said Gungubele.

Speaking at a ministerial forum in the run-up to the event Deputy Minister of Communications Philly Mapulane further underlined the importance of this kind of collaboration.

Philly Mapulane, Deputy Minister of Communications

“This gathering marks a significant milestone in our collective pursuit of a digitally empowered Africa,” he said. “We are here not merely as representatives of our respective nations and organisations, but we are here as architects of a shared vision — one that envisions an Africa propelled into a future where the possibilities of connectivity are boundless.”

“I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) for entrusting South Africa with the privilege of hosting this significant gathering,” he added. “The collaboration with Huawei, a global technology leader, underscores the importance of international partnerships in shaping Africa’s digital future.”

It’s a message that was also endorsed by ATU Secretary General John Omo.

“I must note that it is also through the synergy of governments, private sector entities, research institutions, and international organisations that we can realize the full potential of our collective efforts,” he said. “What this means is that inclusivity should be a guiding principle as we shape the future of digital infrastructure. We must ensure that the benefits of technological advancements reach every corner of society, leaving no one behind.”

Andile Ncgaba, Chairman of the Digital Council Africa expressed further appreciation for what’s already been achieved through collaboration while also underlining how important continued collaboration will be going forward.

“I want to convey our sincere appreciation to our partners from the World Broadband Association and Huawei,” he said. “There’s a lot that we still need to do together in partnership with the public and private sector.”

“To overcome the challenges we still have, we need to think long-term,” he added. “We have to think about our continent on a long-term basis. In 2050, we will have 2.5 billion people on the continent. What can we do to address this moving connectivity target?”

For its part, Huawei reiterated its commitment to investment and collaboration across the African continent.

“Technological progress is one of the most potent forces in history, and will naturally improve the well-being of all society,” said Leo Chen, President of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa.  Working in the technology sector, we have a keen sense of responsibility and high motivation.”

“To accelerate digital Africa is to create a prosperous and sustainable Africa,” he concluded. “To this end, we are ready to work with all parties in pursuit of this great mission.”