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Huawei announces Kenya-focused digital skills initiative

Huawei announces Kenya-focused digital skills initiative

During ITU Telecom World 2019, Huawei unveiled the DigiTruck project, in partnership with Belgium non-profit organisation Close the Gap, to provide digital skills training to rural and remote communities in Kenya.

The DigiTruck, a mobile digital classroom, is Huawei's latest effort driving their digital inclusion initiative Tech4ALL.

A statement issued by Huawei refers to the World Bank's latest report which points out that Southern Africa's demand for digital skills in 2030 is as high as 230 million people, which is in stark contrast to the current prevailing lack of digital skills in Africa.

"In Kenya, for example, despite being the ICT hub in Africa, internet users account for less than 50% of the total population, not only because more than 75% of the population live in remote areas, lacking stable power supply, but also because many people do not realise the real value of digital skills, who have never been exposed to smartphones or used the internet," the company stated.

Huawei explains that its DigiTruck is designed to deliver digital skills to remote homes through mobile digital classrooms converted from truck containers.

The DigiTruck is equipped with wireless broadband enabled by Fixed Wireless Access, laptops and smart phones enabling internet skills to be taught aboard and incorporating VR content in digital education. It also has solar panels and batteries capable of powering it, so it can reach remote rural villages with no electricity.

The devices inside the truck are refurbished, extending the life of these devices.

Olivier Vanden Eynde, founder and chief executive officer of Close the Gap, said, "For over 15 years, Close the Gap has been bridging the digital divide in developing countries by providing high quality refurbished ICT-devices to more than 5700 projects with a social impact. With the different DigiTrucks we have been able to reach even the most isolated communities that have little or no access to ICT, also bring quality training and education to these areas. With the support of Huawei, Close the Gap is honoured to coordinate a new DigiTruck-project in Kenya and make a positive impact on the lives of Kenyans."

Ritchie Peng, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Wireless Solution, added, "The empowering use of ICT is closely connected to socio-economic development. Our 20 years of experience connecting rural communities in Africa has shown us that wireless broadband access is significantly changing the way we live and work in the digital world. Huawei is continually innovating to bring wireless internet access and the skills to use it to those who need it. Technology can do good, but as our contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, we must make sure no-one is left behind. We are proud to collaborate with Close the Gap on this inspiring project."

According to Huawei, a total of 7,000 teachers and community members are expected to be trained on digital literacy, entrepreneurship, and online job opportunities within the first one year of implementation.

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