African students shine at the global finals of Huawei ICT contest

African ICT students emerged among the world’s best at the Huawei ICT Competition Global Final, taking top prizes at an online awards ceremony held this weekend. Two teams from Nigeria won grand prizes, while teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mauritius all earned the highest level of achievement for the first time in what is seen as one of the biggest ICT events globally.

Despite being the newest contestants of Huawei ICT Competition since 2017, African students have made stunning progress this year. In 2019, only five African teams made it to the global final and reaped only one third prize, compared with 13 teams this year, winning a total of seven medals.

Two Teams from Kenya shared the First Prize and 3rd Prize respectively alongside Nigeria, China, UK and Egypt. Catherine Wambui from Multimedia University of Kenya is one of the winners at the Global Final. She encouraged more students at University and College to join the ICT Competition as it is highly practice oriented “The Competition has really enabled me to get the practical skills and knowledge especially in my field of Networking. It has also helped improve on Team work, I encourage my fellow students to take part in the ICT Competition to test and sharpen their ICT skills.”

The students’ achievement is due to African countries’ continued recognition and efforts to build a competitive ICT talent pool among the young generation, who will be an indispensable accelerator for the continent’s post-COVID recovery and digitization.

The victorious students had a good reason to rejoice after over 10 months of hard work and fierce competition all the way from national screening contests, the Regional final, and the Global final. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the training and competition activities were completed online.

The ICT Competition has diversified to include an Innovation Competition that enables students at University to develop innovative solutions towards solving existing global challenges. The innovation competition will focus on IOT, AI and Cloud.

Dianarose Nasipwonyi, who led a Kenyan Team and participated in the first Innovation Competition in Africa, expressed appreciation to Huawei for the opportunity to join the competition this year alongside UK, Singapore, China and Spain. “During the development of our Mazingira Team Project I have learnt a lot on Huawei AI & Cloud platform. The experience has really made me into a better innovator and has increased my skills. I hope to develop solutions for Africa with this new found knowledge.”

Over the past five years, Huawei has signed cooperation agreements with over 250 universities in 14 Sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. This cooperation has enabled more than 7,000 university students to obtain Huawei ICT certification, which makes them better candidates for ICT-related jobs.

Mr. Hou Tao, Global Vice President of Huawei, highlighted the impressive enthusiasm of the students, which is much needed to 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 a competitive ICT talent pool, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence,” said Mr. Hou.

As the host of the ICT Competition, Huawei has invested heavily in mobilizing African students, 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.

Mr Darius Mogaka Ogutu, Director of University Education and Research at the Ministry of Education in Kenya, spoke highly of Huawei’s role in ”a collaboration between private sector and universities, especially when that private sector is one of the world leaders in that field,” he also commended the real impact brought by Huawei’s talent strategy for enabling “tens of thousands of students across the region, by learning and practicing their ICT knowledge and skills through this innovative format”.

High-rank officials from UNESCO also spoke highly of Huawei’s partnership with UNESCO in fostering the digital skills of African youth, and its ongoing efforts to leverage advanced ICT technologies to drive digital transformation around the world.

This year’s Huawei ICT Competition attracted nearly 150,000 students from over 2,000 universities in over 82 countries. 327 students from 39 countries participated in the online global final, making the scale the largest in all years. Teams from Zambia, Lesotho, and South Africa also reached the global final.

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