Botswana students third in Huawei's Sub-Saharan Africa ICT Comp

Botswana Team during ICT competition
Botswana Team during ICT competition

A Botswana team of three students emerged one of the winners in this year’s Sub Saharan regional finals of Huawei’s global ICT Competition.

The competition covered latest ICT technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobile networks and big data. Almost 30, 000 students from over 100 universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Mauritius participated.

At the finals, held last week in Johannesburg, it came down to 42 students in 14 teams. They sat for theory and practical examinations at the finals at Huawei’s regional headquarters in Woodmead, Johannesburg.

Teams from Nigeria and Tanzania won the champion and the team from Botswana secured the third prize .

Gontse Basupi, a third year student from University of Botswana, who was representing his country in the contest said the competition has elevated his skills in terms of the ICT and networking industry.

“I gained a lot. This journey has been an eye opener. I gained the privilege to compete with industry experts from other countries and got a sense of where my skill is. I feel that the certificate I received from Huawei will give me a head start in the corporate world and open new opportunities for me. Huawei is expanding in the networking industry, especially with the introduction of surveillance project in Botswana, which uses Huawei technology. This certification will hopefully help in the competiveness of jobs as Huawei continues to integrate in Botswana,” Basupi said.

In 2018, Botswana Open University established Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) in order to deliver Huawei Certification courses to their students and worked with Botho University as a testing centre. The student were accompanied by their Promatric Testing Centre instructor Turugare Ranganai from Botho University.

Ranganai said Botswana is aiming at producing youth generation that is employable locally, regionally and globally which matches Huawei’s main aim to Botswana and the Africa continent which is to develop talents with practical skills for the ICT industry and the community.

“Huawei courses focus on theoretical knowledge that is build practical lab activities which are helpful in producing a well skilled youth capable of solving problems both as a an employee or entrepreneurial youth. The certification serves students with confidence in dealing with physical network devices and also bridging the theory acquired during their bachelor studies with the practical experienced which they gain doing Huawei certification. Most of the companies are also using Huawei product hence creating employment for the certification holders,” Ranganai said.

In as much as the country is striving to equip its youth with ICT innovation, there is still a challenge in establishing infrastructure to support research and new innovation for development. Encouraging collaboration between industry and academia is very important for university students to build entrepreneurial skills and develop an innovative culture which is usable in industry.

Speaking at the final award giving presentation, Xue Man, vice president of Huawei, said Huawei understands the value of a good talent ecosystem which is the foundation for a smart future for human society.

“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’ quest 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,” Xue said.

This year, Huawei will sponsor another 10 Batswana students. ICT talents to China through its Seeds for the Future ICT talents training program. The students will be participating in various forms of ICT trainings in line with the Chinese culture lessons in their three-week stay in Beijing and Shenzhen.

The Huawei ICT Competition is a global ICT talent competition exchange event, which is aimed at the Huawei Authorized Information and Network Technology College (Huawei ICT Academy) and related universities. Since the first Huawei ICT Contest held in 2015, the number of participants in the competition has grown exponentially and has become one of the largest ICT events in the world.

The 2018/19 event has attracted more than 1,000 universities in more than 50 countries around the world under the slogan “Connection, Glory and Future”. The total number of students participating globally was 80,000 students, including 28 000 students from Southern Africa.

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