South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday, said the country will not back down from its 5G plans with Huawei despite pressure to do otherwise.
The second largest economy in Africa maintains a healthy economic relationship with both the United States and China. The US had recently placed a ban on Huawei sparking off a trade war with China that has affected many businesses.
At the maiden edition of South African Digital Summit, the President described the trade war between the two countries and the US action on Huawei as an indication of protectionism tendencies capable of causing a setback of its 5G network ambitions and other telecommunication plans.
Ramaphosa who described Huawei as the “victim”, disclosed that telecommunication operators in South African had expressed concerns about the trade war.
“Telecom companies got together and wrote me a letter saying that this tussle between the US and China around the company called Huawei is going to hurt us because we can’t go to 5G and only HUawei can lead us to 5G,” Ramaphosa said.
Hauwei and Rain, a mobile data-only network had in February launched the first 5G commercial network in South Africa. In the first phase of the roll out, Rain said it deployed 20 new base stations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, covering the main districts of the two cities.
“We support a company that is going to take our country and indeed the world to better technologies, and that is 5G,” Ramaphosa said. “We cannot afford to have our economy to be held back because of this fight. We are pleased that at the G20 Summit, China and US were able to meet and they said they will relax some of the constraints being imposed on Huawei, so that it can continue to deal with other various companies.”