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Huawei contributing significantly to Jamaica's economy Latin America getting its fair share

Observer business writer

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

GLOBAL technology company Huawei is highlighting its significant contribution to the Jamaican economy in the wake of persistent criticism by outgoing American Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia.

Tapia has been a strong critic of Huawei, levelling a series of allegations against the China-based company, especially the rolling out a 5G network for Jamaica.

However the company is hitting back, disclosing the extent of its contribution to the local economy, particularly over the last two years.

During the two-year period 2018-2020, Huawei reported that it invested US$27 million in the Jamaican economy and paid US$5 million in taxes.

Huawei's Director, Enterprise Business Group for Latin America and the Caribbean Courtney Hamilton indicated that most of this investment was made in securing subcontractors to execute work on behalf of Huawei, which provides services to the two main telecoms providers in Jamaica — Flow and Digicel — as well as other business partners.

In addition, Hamilton reported that Huawei's Jamaica office currently employs 40 full-time staff, of which 80 per cent are Jamaicans, with 20 plus local contract suppliers. In all, Huawei Jamaica employs some 300 Jamaicans directly and indirectly.

Hamilton told this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that his company takes corporate responsibility seriously.

He pointed to the company's Seeds For The Future education programme under which 42 Jamaican engineering and technology students have benefited from training in China. The programme, which started four years ago, provides 10 students from The University of the West Indies and University of Technology, Jamaica with training in China, with all costs borne by Huawei.

Hamilton promised that this collaboration with the two universities will continue into the foreseeable future.

The Huawei local executive declared that the company is not only committed to Jamaica but, by extension, the wider Latin America and Caribbean for which he has responsibility. In the region, Huawei made US$1 billion in local purchases in 2020 alone and has a 4,000-strong direct staff complement of which over 70 per cent are locals. The company boasted that it has developed as much as 70,000 local talents in three years and cooperated with 32 local universities.