African leaders push for investments at summit

Updated 20 February 2016

African leaders push for investments at summit

SHARM EL SHEIKH: African leaders and bankers turned out at an economic summit in Egypt, vowing to push for trade and investments on the continent despite growing security concerns in the region.

More than 1,200 delegates including some heads of state aim to sign business agreements during the next two days at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, to attract private sector investments in Africa.
Organizers hope the “Africa 2016” conference can build on a 26-nation free trade pact signed last year to create a common market on half the continent.
Analysts say that despite the continent’s economic growth rate of more than four percent, Africa still accounts for about only two percent of global trade.
The forum was aimed at “pushing forward trade and investment in our continent to strengthen Africa’s place in the world economy,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in his opening remarks at the conference.
“It not only aims to present investment opportunities that Africa offers to the international business community... but aims to pave the way for active decisions, communication and cooperation.”
Organizers are also seeking to turn the spotlight on Egypt as its economy remains sluggish after years of political turmoil following the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.
Heavily dependent on tourism, Egypt’s economy was dealt a body blow when a Russian airliner broke up mid-air on October 31, minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh.
All 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists, were killed when the plane blew up over the Sinai Peninsula. The Daesh group said it brought down the jet with a bomb on board.
Egypt says it still has no evidence that a bomb downed the plane, although Moscow has acknowledged that a “terrorist attack” caused the disaster.
“Africa 2016 forum is expected to position Egypt as a gateway for foreign investments into African markets,” Omar Ben Yedder, member of the organizing committee, said.
Those attending the summit organized by Egypt and the African Union include the presidents of Sudan, Nigeria, Togo, and Gabon, and dozens of ministers and senior officials from Africa involved in trade and investment.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that growing security concerns in Africa were absorbing huge resources.
“The new problem affecting investments is international terrorism... lot of resources that could be used for development are being diverted to address security issues,” Buhari said.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is fighting a brutal insurgency launched by Boko Haram since 2009.
Boko Haram, which seeks a hard-line state in northern Nigeria, has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes since the start of the insurgency.
Bankers however say the continent remains a growth story.
“We plan to invest 12 billion dollars in the energy sector over the next five years... so that people in Africa can have universal access to electricity,” said Africa Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
Africa still has 645 million people without access to electricity, he said, and the only way to address the issue is to widen private sector participation in the energy sector.
The economy is projected to grow at a rate of 4.4 percent this year and five percent in 2017 as against three percent growth expected in developed countries, he said.
“Africa is doing well despite the challenges it is facing,” Adesina said.


Huawei in early talks with US firms to license 5G platform: executive

Updated 19 October 2019

Huawei in early talks with US firms to license 5G platform: executive

  • Currently there are no US 5G providers and European rivals Ericsson and Nokia are generally more expensive
  • Huawei has spent billions to develop its 5G technology since 2009

WASHINGTON: Blacklisted Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei is in early-stage talks with some US telecoms companies about licensing its 5G network technology to them, a Huawei executive told Reuters on Friday.
Vincent Pang, senior vice president and board director at the company said some firms had expressed interest in both a long-term deal or a one-off transfer, declining to name or quantify the companies.
“There are some companies talking to us, but it would take a long journey to really finalize everything,” Pang explained on a visit to Washington this week. “They have shown interest,” he added, saying conversations are only a couple of weeks old and not at a detailed level yet.
The US government, fearing Huawei equipment could be used to spy on customers, has led a campaign to convince allies to bar it from their 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.
Currently there are no US 5G providers and European rivals Ericsson and Nokia are generally more expensive.
In May, Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment provider, was placed on a US blacklist over national security concerns, banning it from buying American-made parts without a special license.
Washington also has brought criminal charges against the company, alleging bank fraud, violations of US sanctions against Iran, and theft of trade secrets, which Huawei denies.
Rules that were due out from the Commerce Department earlier this month are expected to effectively ban the company from the US telecoms supply chain.
The idea of a one-off fee in exchange for access to Huawei’s 5G patents, licenses, code and know-how was first floated by CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei in interviews with the New York Times and the Economist last month. But it was not previously clear whether there was any interest from US companies.
In an interview with Reuters last month, a State Department official expressed skepticism of Ren’s offer.
“It’s just not realistic that carriers would take on this equipment and then manage all of the software and hardware themselves,” the person said. “If there are software bugs that are built in to the initial software, there would be no way to necessarily tell that those are there and they could be activated at any point, even if the software code is turned over to the mobile operators,” the official added.
For his part, Pang declined to predict whether any deal might be signed. However, he warned that the research and development investment required by continuously improving the platform after a single-transfer from Huawei would be very costly for the companies.
Huawei has spent billions to develop its 5G technology since 2009.