Students from Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa have come out top in the Huawei sub-Saharan Africa ICT competition.
Teams from these four countries, along with counterparts from Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius and Zambia have qualified to compete with students from around the world in the global final, which will be held online this year, from 6-9 November.
The student’s achievements were honored at an online awards ceremony attended by high-ranking government officials and industry leaders.
The Nigerian, Tanzanian, Ugandan, and South African teams stood out from more than 40 African teams during the fierce regional competition. This year, more than 50,000 students from 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa participated in the Huawei ICT competition, the biggest attendance so far. The move to online also allowed more students to be part of this event.
Global Vice President of Huawei, Mr. Hou Tao, highlighted the enthusiasm of the students, which is much needed for Africa’s digital inclusion in the era when the gravity of workplace skills is already shifting online.
“As a private company serving the African market for over 20 years, Huawei has dedicated itself to and will always remain a trusted partner of governments and academia in building an ICT talent pool, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence,” Hou said.
After five years of development, the Huawei ICT competition has become one of the biggest event of its kind in Africa. The competition covers latest technologies such as cloud computing, AI, mobile networks, big data, that are pertinent to students’ competitiveness in the job market.
South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Blade Nzimande, highlighted his country’s goal of “repositioning to not just being consumer of knowledge but also to be a producer of knowledge and new innovation,” he emphasised Huawei’s unique contribution to thisgoal by creating “a highly skilled and globally competitive ICT talent pool for Africa’s development in the era of digitisation and the global economy.”
Nzimande also pointed out that South Africa and Africa as a whole will need to actively collaborate both internally and externally in order to remain competitive due to the globalised nature of the economy and the digital transformation. He therefore expect Huawei’s alignment with the broader national effort.
Over the past five years, Huawei has signed cooperation agreements with over 250 universities in 14 sub-Saharan countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. This cooperation has enabled more than 7,000 university students obtain Huawei ICT certification, which makes them better candidates for ICT-related jobs.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ugandan Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Vincent Waiswa Bagiire, said ICT could surely bring substantial increases of productivity to address the country’s most urgent needs, and the development of human capital is extremely important. He therefore applauded Huawei for its contribution in this regard by strengthening Uganda’s capacity build with ICT competition and training.
Director of University Education and Research at Kenya Ministry of Education, Mr. Darius Mogaka Ogutu, spoke highly of Huawei’s role in “collaboration between private sector and universities, especially when that private sector is one of the world’s leaders in that field.” He also commended the real impact brought by Huawei’s talent strategy for enabling “tens of thousands of other students across the region, by learning and practicing their ICT knowledge and skills through this innovative format.”
Speaking as the representative of the university educators, Prof. Funso Falade, a Nigerian who serves as the President of African Engineering Education Association (AEEA), acknowledged Huawei’s constructive role in addressing the Africa’s needs during the pandemic, “The skills development opportunities provided by Huawei are in line with AEEA goals and aspirations for our students in a critical area, which we now require a lot of expertise in Africa, now more than ever due to the disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our educational system.” Falade added.