Huawei Signs Agreement with Cote D’Ivoire to Develop Country’s ICT Sector

On Octo­ber 9, Huawei final­ized a mem­o­ran­dum of under­stand­ing with Cote D’Ivoire that calls for the joint devel­op­ment of the country’s ICT sec­tor under the “Dig­i­tal Cote D’Ivoire 2030” ini­tia­tive.  The agree­ment also places the Chi­nese com­pa­ny at the fore­front of Cote D’Ivoire’s broad­band devel­op­ment strat­e­gy.  

As of now, Cote D’Ivoire’s ICT sec­tor remains under­de­vel­oped, a real­i­ty that the coun­try is seek­ing to change.  In August 2020, the coun­try ranked 124th and 109th in mobile and broad­band speeds, respec­tive­ly (data from the SpeedTest Glob­al Index).  Accord­ing to the Cote D’Ivoire’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tor, as of 2018, the num­ber of fixed inter­net sub­scribers in the coun­try rep­re­sent­ed approx­i­mate­ly 0.6% of the pop­u­la­tion.

Regard­ing the MoU, Huawei’s Vice Pres­i­dent for West Africa, Li Yun­gao, expressed his wish that the coop­er­a­tion agree­ment will form the impe­tus for “strong polit­i­cal will and con­crete actions on the ground for a dig­i­tal­ized Cote D’Ivoire by 2030.”

Despite increas­ing cau­tion in West­ern ICT mar­kets regard­ing expo­sure to state-linked Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices and com­po­nents, major Chi­nese tele­coms such as Huawei and ZTE con­tin­ue to make for­ays into the African ICT sec­tor.  This month, MTN Zam­bia con­tract­ed China’s ZTE Cor­po­ra­tion to build a crit­i­cal fiber-optic back­bone that will con­nect the coun­try to a transna­tion­al sub­ma­rine cable.