by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – HUAWEI is to develop information and communications technology (ICT) skills of 100 000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa within three years.
The Chinese multinational technology corporation has launched its Leadership, Employability, Advancement and Possibilities (LEAP) programme.
Through the digital skills development programme, Huawei aims to foster strong digital leadership and a skilled ICT workforce, building a digital talent pool, and promoting digital literacy among citizens.
It includes a wide range of activities spanning from ICT training and certification courses, government digital capacity building and ICT skills competitions.
“Digitisation is deeply rooted in people,” said Huawei Southern Africa President, Leo Chen at the launch of LEAP in Johannesburg.
“…because we digitise for people and by people. When roots are deep, there is no need to fear the wind,” he added.
“Through the programme, we strive to cultivate more youth leaders in ICT, who can explore more possibilities for themselves, their families, community and ultimately their nations.”
Over the past two decades, Huawei has helped advance the ICT skills of more than 80 000 people across the region, thus helping increase youth employability and bridge the gender gap in the ICT industry.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, said LEAP, Huawei’s Seeds of the Future and ICT Academy Programme participants would leapfrog countries into the future.
“COVID-19 took us into the digital era, but we should not need a pandemic to do this for us in the future. We need to be deliberate and intentional to leapfrog our countries,” she said.
Ntshavheni reiterated the need for innovation, support local innovators and promotion of platforms throughout the continent to reach scale and develop local economies.
“We are only bigger when our market is bigger, and we must walk together,” Ntshavheni said.
Prof Eliamani Sadoyeka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Tanzania, stressed that the power of ICT should never be underestimated.
“ICT has given us almost equal access to knowledge. Once a young mind is connected, a girl from the village in Africa will have the same access to knowledge as a boy in Copenhagen,” Sadoyeka said.
Dr John Chrysestom Muyingo, Ugandan State Minister for Higher Education of Ministry of Education and Sports, said in partnership with Huawei, the country had implemented the digital upskilling initiatives in higher education institutions across the country.
“We welcome this partnership, and we are committed to strengthening this relationship,” Muyingo assured.
LEAP will be rolled out based on Huawei’s investment in the region and will see more than 1 200 instructors facilitate 3 000 ICT courses.
It will also fund a number of facilities including training centres, hardware installation bases, innovation hubs, mirror labs, and ICT academies.
Huawei currently has ICT academies at more than 300 universities and colleges in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
– CAJ News