MTN, Intel to push broadband in Africa

2 August 2010

South Africa’s MTN Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with the USA’s Intel Corporation which will see the two companies collaborating to accelerate the deployment of broadband access in Africa and the Middle East.

The collaboration covers a wide spectrum of initiatives, including areas such as broadband access through pushing WiMax deployment, offering affordable PC bundles for ordinary African consumers and entrepreneurs, and introducing cost-effective internet browsing devices.

Skills development

Other areas of collaboration include joint efforts by the MTN Foundation and Intel Education’s corporate social responsibility initiatives to equip students and teachers with technology skills.

“These initiatives will contribute to the development of young people in Africa by equipping them with up to date maths and science skills as well as life skills such as critical thinking in the current knowledge economy,” MTN said in a statement this week.

Emerging technology investment

Intel’s venture capital division, Intel Capital, and the MTN Group will also invest in emerging technology companies that are innovative and demonstrate a potential for advancing the ICT sector by developing products that contribute to solving typically African business and social problems.

According to the statement, such innovations have the potential to create new industries and offer employment to Africa’s growing young population.

“Strategies developed by MTN and Intel to connect the next generation of broadband users in Africa and the Middle East were a perfect fit, which is why we went into discussions to collaborate,” said Intel sales and marketing vice president Gordon Graylish.

“Both companies have expertise in different aspects of ICT deployment and together we can accelerate bridging the digital divide on the continent.”

Importance of industry leaders

MTN senior vice-president for innovation Christian de Faria said the company believed the memorandum of understanding would facilitate the establishment of joint initiatives to support both their broadband strategy as well as corporate social responsibility projects.

“MTN recognises the strategic value of partnering with an industry player of Intel’s calibre and stature,” De Faria said.

According to the statement, the memorandum also underpins the importance of industry leaders such as Intel and MTN to collaborate in order to bring sustainable ICT development to the Africa and Middle East region.

“In this way we can accelerate Africa’s entry into the 21st century knowledge and digital economy which will give its citizens economic opportunities similar to those in developed countries,” said Graylish.

SAinfo reporter

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