By Mourice Seretta
A strong performance by Kenyan students from JKUAT, Laikipia University, Multimedia University and the University of Nairobi competing as the Kenyan team in the Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa ICT Competition has got them a place in November’s Global Final. The announcement was made yesterday at an online award ceremony attended by government officials, industry leaders and academia from across the continent following last week’s training and competition.
They were amongst the top eight teams from the more than 40 African teams that competed in 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. 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 to obtain Huawei ICT certification, which gives them more knowledge so they can be better candidates for ICT-related jobs and help drive the digital economy.
Mr. Hou Tao, Global Vice President of Huawei, highlighted the impressive 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 ICT talent pool, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence. “ says Mr. Hou.
After five years of development, The Huawei ICT Competition has become one of the biggest events of its kind in Africa. The competition covers the latest technologies such as cloud computing, AI, mobile networks, big data, that are pertinent to students’ competitiveness in the job market.
Mr. Darius Mogaka Ogutu, Director of University Education and Research at the Ministry of Education in Kenya, attended the awards ceremony and 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.” Ministers from South Africa and Uganda also spoke at the event.
Speaking as the representative of the university educators, Prof. Funso Falade, President of African Engineering Education Association (AEEA) acknowledged Huawei’s constructive role in addressing 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.” he added.
From November 6 to 9, the Sub-Saharan African teams will attend the Global Final online. Young ICT students from Africa can demonstrate their exceptional talent and innovation, and compete on behalf of their countries and continent with more than 300 peers from around the world.