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‘Nigeria’s performance at Huawei global ICT competition will position it for growth’

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(Photo by FRED DUFOUR / AFP)

Huawei Technologies, one of the global information and communications technology (ICT) company has invested heavily in the growth and development of ICT ecosystem in Nigeriain in the last 20 years.

The Nigeria ICT sector is one of the key performers of the nation’s economy by contributing around 10 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

With over $76 million investment in Nigeria, Huawei has made a lot of efforts to cultivate ICT talents by sharing accumulated knowledge systems and best practices.

In a bid to address the challenges of the future ICT industry, Huawei Technologies in October 2018, launched the ICT competition in Nigeria in partnership with local universities with the aim of harnessing ICT talents that are well cultivated for the future to drive innovation and technology.

The Nigerian team had emerged first alongside Tanzania, Kenya and Angola to represent Africa at the global stage to compete for the world ICT title in Huawei Technologies’ flagship ICT development programme which held in China, in May. The team of Nigerian students ranked number one in Africa, leading with a dominant score of 790.4, followed by Tanzania with 745.6, then Kenya with 737, and Angola with 700.8.

It would be recalled that the team first emerged winners of the Huawei ICT national competition which involved a participation of 13, 600 students from 30 universities across Nigeria before proceeding to represent Nigeria at the Sub-Saharan regional finals held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The team of six students from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), who represented Nigeria, competed with 49 other teams from 30 countries and clinched the third place at the finals of the Global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) competition organised by Huawei Technologies in Dongguan, China.

The event, which attracted more than 1,000 universities in over 50 countries around the world had the theme “Connection, Glory and Future” while a total of 80,000 students including 28,000 students from Sub-Saharan Africa participated globally.

Following its feat, the firm expressed commitment to build capacity of Nigerian youths to have well cultivated ICT talents for the future to drive innovation and technology in Nigeria.

Already, the six Nigerian students have also been offered job opportunities in Huawei Technologies Co. Nigeria Limited, to further improve their skills and experience.

For one of the team members, Muhammad Mustafa Maihaja, “Huawei global ICT competition tries to students closer to ICT, as the competition provided an opportunity for students to interact with cutting edge technologies .We are not exposed to this kind of competition in Nigeria. Huawei have a lot of Technologies that you can’t even think about .We had exams that lasted for 88 hours which I have never had in my , this part is the most exciting part of my life”.

Maihaja, who was very proud of the team’s performance, said: “Although we took third in the competition, it is a great feat for us because we competed against the european super-powers, the developed Chinese country and the advanced Asian countries but we still came third. We never had enough time to study but due to our capabilities, the support from our institution and the confidence that was given to us, it made us to perform very well in this competition.”

Another member of the team, Adebayo Abdulqudus, 22, said he and his teammates achieved the feat through dedication and hard work.

“For the past eight months, we left our families, relatives, friends, social lives to participate in the Huawei ICT competition to win. Though we got the third prize, our participation, the experience and opportunity to learn are the most important of all”.

During the reception tto host them when they returned from China, Managing Director of Huawei Technologies (Abuja Office), Tank Li, noted that Huawei ICT Competition is a global technology talent exchange event, which comprises Huawei Authorised Information, Network Academy universities and Huawei ICT Academy.

Li noted that the firm understands the value of a good talent ecosystem, which is the foundation for a smart future, adding that Huawei has made a lot of effort to cultivate ICT talents by sharing accumulated knowledge systems and best practices in the last 30 years.

He stated that faced with the challenges of the future ICT industry, the competition is part of the firm’s innovative initiatives to support and promote ICT skills and also inspire more students’ interest in ICT learning in Africa. “This platform provides students with a world class stage to showcase themselves and consolidate the vital ICT needed for Africa’s development.”

Li observed that since the first Huawei ICT contest held in 2015, the number of participants in the competition has grown exponentially and this has become one of the largest ICT events in the world adding that the 2018/19 event attracted more than 1,000 universities in over 50 countries around the world under the slogan “Connection, Glory and Future”.

The total number of students participating globally was 80,000 including 28, 000 students from Sub-Saharan Africa.

In a chat with journalists, Chief of Staff to the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Chris Maiyaki, said that the ABU students hasve done the country and the continent proud at the competition adding that their achievement reinforces the belief that Nigerian youths if given the enabling environment can be outstanding.

He said, “This means that the educational system in Nigeria has been under-reported and not viewed in the right perspective. Nigerian youths can compete favourably with theirs counterparts across the globe. it means that our educational system is not as backward as always being reported in some quarters. It shows that the future our youth is very bright. We have never had any doubt about the ability, drive, resilience and tenacity of the Nigerian youths”.

Also speaking, Media and Communication Manager, Huawei Technologies, Emmanuel-Adereti, said said that the Nigerian students came first during the national competition and also emerged first in the sub Saharan African competition in South Africa and now three in the global competition hosted in China.

Adereti noted that Huawei want to ensure that the students succeed in their individual careers and is open to giving them employment opportunities.

He said, “We are proud that Nigerian students came out as part of the top three. We focus a lot in capacity build and ensuring that we have ICT talents that are well cultivated for the future to drive innovation, technology and ICT. The students among the 50 countries that participated, Nigeria came 3rd the students put in a lot of hard work in the last eight months to get there. There is a rapid development in the ICT sector in Nigeria and we are interested in building capacity for Nigerian students and students all over the world”.

The Vice Chancellor of ABU, Prof Ibrahim Garba said the competition was an eye opener and lamented thatvwe are not doing anything as a people and government to invest in our future.

“If you do not invest in this and to play in the global game that is going to determine our future we are no where. If you see what other team from other countries have invented you will be amazed but we still tried our best. We have got the intellect and talent but we need to get a lot of support and resources to move the country forward. We have made a lot of linkages. We now have a sister agency being supported by Huawei -the southern university of science and technology where they host UNESCO center that promote support in e-learning and ICT. We have already send collaboration to the university and Center”.We are not doing anything as a people and government to invest in our futurr. If you do not invest in this and to play in the global game that is going to determine our future we are no where”.

On the performance of his students, the VC said, “They are great boys. Before we left Nigeria, there were already the national champion and regional champion for Sub Saharan Africa. So we went to China for the global competition and the only team from black Africa country that made it to the last stage and overall third position. So it is a great feat for us. I pity my boys because they went with very limited preparation from environment that is so limited with resources and infrastructure and competed with the best of the best in the world. The Chinese team had about seven teams of the best of the universities. We were able to best some. The boys met new technologies they were never conversant with but they quickly learnt and adopted and did their best.”


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