Nigeria, at the heart of development, is playing a key role in representing Africa on the global scale of ICT knowledge and capacity building. With a growing youth population and rapid advancement in innovation and technology, Nigeria scales high and is noticeably growing in building technology hubs. The Yabacon Valley which attracts global presence is a typical example of how far Nigeria has come in its understanding of ICT and innovation.
This March, a team of Nigerian students emerged first place 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 program set to hold in China, May 2019.The Nigerian team of students ranked number one leading with a dominant score of 790.4, followed by Tanzania with 745.6, then Kenya with 737 and Angola with 700.8. The regional competition finals consisted of 14 teams (with 42 students) from 11 countries in Africa which participated in theory and practical examinations on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobile networks and big data.
The Nigerian students, Abdulqadir Babagana Musa, Muhammad Mustafa Maihaja, Fahad Danladi, Shuaibu Abbas Usman, Kamaludeen Umar, Abdulqudus Adebayo Temidayo all from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) 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 just-concluded Sub-Saharan regional finals held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The regional finals consisting of 42 African students divided into 14 teams participated in theory and practical examinations on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobile networks and big data. Together with second prize winners, Angola and Kenya, the four teams will travel to China for the global finals which will see 40 teams from around the world compete for the championship title. The 6 Nigerian students have also been offered job opportunities in Huawei Technologies Co. Nigeria Limited to further improve their skills and experience.
This ICT competition developed by Huawei Technologies comprising of a national preliminary contest, regional semi-final and Global final was first launched in 2015. It will be recalled that in October 2018, Huawei launched the ICT competition in Nigeria in partnership with local universities aiming at cultivating local ICT talents, promoting a greater understanding of and interest in ICT, and developing a healthy ecosystem for the sustainable growth of ICT sector. The launch ceremony was graced with the presence of the Honorable Minister of Communications, Dr. Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu who commended Huawei Technologies for partnering with the Nigerian government to achieve a great feat in the history of the country’s ICT sector. The Chairman of the Nigerian University Management Committee Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; and presidents of participating universities, and the representative of Ministry of Education also attended that ceremony.
Through this competition, Huawei Technologies seeks to improve comprehensive capabilities of students, transfer cutting-edge technologies information and explore the business requirement of the industry. Participating students cut across nationalities such as China, U.K, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, Kenya, Singapore, Mexico, India, etc.
In a press interview with the representative of the Nigerian students’ team, Muhammad Mustafa Maihaja said “We owe our commitment to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and Huawei Technologies. This has been a great opportunity to learn new cutting edge technology and to prove ourselves as capable to represent Africa. The exposure is great and this is a dream come true for us. We have worked really hard and are glad on how far we have come. We are aiming to use this opportunity to announce the prominence of our institution, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), and Nigeria at large and to prove that we are a hard stone to conquer. We look forward to using this knowledge to further improve ICT development in Nigeria. We also plan to pass this knowledge on to our colleagues in school and to the upcoming generation. We will try to put the icing on the cake on our blissful achievement and try to put Nigeria at the forefront. Our team believes we can bring the global award to Nigeria from at the ICT competition in China. We have heard so much about China and cannot wait to visit while we meet new friends from all over the world.”
Speaking at the final award giving presentation, Mr. Xue Man, Vice President of Huawei Technologies, said “Huawei understands the value of a good talent ecosystem which is the foundation for a smart future. This ICT Competition is part of our innovative initiatives to support that and promote ICT skills. We believe that this event will inspire more students’ interest in ICT learning in Africa; it provides them with a world-class stage to showcase themselves and consolidate the vital ICT needed for Africa’s development”
Huawei’s vision is to build a healthy ICT talent ecosystem and its Huawei ICT Academy program is one of the important fundamental parts. Until now, there are more than 400 universities and colleges around the world, which have joined the Huawei ICT Academy. Huawei trains more than 12,000 students per year, bringing the latest technology to its campus and transferring talents to the ICT industry.
Huawei hopes to achieve three objectives through the competition: to facilitate learning through Connection, to celebrate Glory and achievement, and most importantly, to foster talents that can shape our Future.
The 2018/19 event has attracted 80,000 students from over 1,000 universities in more than 50 countries around the world under the slogan “Connection, Glory and Future”.