The sub-Sahara African finals of the Huawei Global ICT Competition, under the theme of “Connection, Glory, Future”, kicked off on September 10, with an online opening ceremony. It is believed to be the biggest event of its kind in Africa covering 14 countries and attracting over 50,000 students.
Globally the Huawei ICT Competition 2019-2020 has covered over 70 countries worldwide, with 150 000 contestants from more than 2,000 universities and colleges.
Launched in the region just five years ago, the Huawei ICT Competition has developed into the largest ICT skills competition in Africa.
During the opening ceremony attended by industry partners, UNESCO and students, Huawei Southern Africa VP, Liao Yong, highlighted the significance of connectivity in the era of social distancing.
According to Yong, “The digital divide is actually widening under the new normal caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As people migrate more work and study online, the digitally disadvantaged people are hit harder.”
In a recent UNESCO webinar, digital infrastructure was identified among the most prominent challenges facing higher education in Africa.
“Holding the online version of ICT competition during the pandemic has a unique value, it shows that Huawei, as a pioneer in building African digital infrastructure, also takes its talent strategy very seriously. It encompasses three aspects; digital upskilling ICT professionals, encouraging and enabling ICT students, and promote ICT literacy among ordinary people,” Yong added.
Huawei has invested heavily in preparation for this event, holding 300 campus roadshows, in 14 sub-Sahara African countries, with a total of 50,000 students participating. The competition-related training helped over 300 students receive job offers.
The training has been of great significance for the students.
A student from Nigeria, Atabol Hamza Adenoi, said: “I began the race for the Huawei ICT competition in August 2019 while observing my internship at Ahmadu Bello University (Abu), Zaria.
“I was trained ahead of the competition’s exam and shortly after, I was granted the opportunity to do an internship at the Huawei Nigeria headquarters in Abuja.”
Also speaking during the opening ceremony, Acting Director of UNESCO International Bureau of Education, Ydo Yao, applauded Huawei for playing an exemplary role to support initiatives that create, innovate and deliver ICT skills for the continent.
In Africa, the partnership between UNESCO and Huawei has been fruitful with many successful projects, such as DigiTruck and Huawei ICT Academy under the auspices of Huawei’s digital inclusion initiative TECH4ALL.
With a series of talent ecosystem campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa, including the ICT competition, Huawei said it hoped to skill up more than 700,000 ICT professionals by 2023. The aim is to bridge the ICT talent gap, advance the digital transformation of industries, and bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected and intelligent world.