Huawei Uganda on Friday officially awarded a total of nine (9) university students out of 119 that were finalists of the 2021 Seeds for the Future competition — the students who are from Makerere University Business School, Muni University, and Kampala International University were; Tiko Joy, Enid Baluku, Namukangula Keith, Kirabo Eva, Samson Ogwang, Male Moses, Acar Vincent, Rugumayo Ronald, and Erick Karberg.
The students were taught and trained on topics of the tech industry such as Cyber Security, 5G Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and the Internet of Things, among others where they excelled well.
At the launch of the program on Oct. 2021 by H.E Ambassador Mugisha Fred, the Deputy Head of Missions of the Ugandan Embassy and acting Ambassador in Beijing, he called upon the students to use the program to create networks that will further their ambitions in life.
Meanwhile, at the same event, Huawei also awarded the 2021/22 National and African finalists of the Huawei ICT Competition.
During the Huawei ICT Competition, a total of 15 students —12 from Makerere University and 3 from Muni University took part in the National competition, and 3 students; Rutanana Arnold, Nakyanzi Catherine, and Nsegiyumva Wilberforce from Makerere University made it to the African competition where they emerged as the overall winners having beaten 19 Countries and 36 teams — thus advancing to the Huawei ICT Global finals in China that will be held on June 18th, 2022.
During the awarding ceremony that was held at the UICT Innovation Hub in Nakawa, the Chief Guest and Vice President of Uganda H.E Maj (RTD) Jessica Alupo praised Huawei for its continuous contribution to the growth of Uganda’s ICT sector. “I do sincerely thank Huawei.”
“Because of Huawei programs such as these; Huawei ICT Academy, Seeds for the Future, and Huawei ICT Competition, we have managed to produce globally competitive human resources for our country,” said Alupo. “This is a good example indeed of how a global company can contribute to our ICT sector’s growth and advancement in technology by boosting ICT infrastructure and introducing cutting-edge technologies.”
Alupo appealed to established entities to engage in partnerships with various institutions of learning to promote Information Communication Technology (ICT) for better job creation opportunities. She noted that ICT is one of the most productive sectors and primary drivers of Uganda’s economy which all Ugandans can tap into and benefit from the wide range of opportunities that come along.
“Huawei has done a tremendous role in promoting ICT in the country’s education sector. Uganda has a very big segment of the youth, with the main challenge being lack of gainful employment to them,” remarked Alupo. “As one of the means to solve unemployment, the government identified commercial agriculture, services, industry, and most importantly, the ICT Sector as some of the means through which unemployment can be addressed.”
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Mr. Zhang Lizhong applauded the Government of Uganda for creating an enabling environment for foreign investors including Huawei. He noted that the Focac meeting by President Xi JingPing in Senegal in November 2021 announced a series of new significant initiatives for China-Africa cooperation, including the nine programs on health, poverty reduction, agriculture, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, and capacity building among others.
“About Capacity Building Program, statistics show that by the end of 2021, China has provided more than 5,000 training opportunities for Ugandan professionals, technical talents, and students through short-term seminars, training workshops, and full scholarships provided by elite Chinese Universities,” explained Lizhong.
Lizhong emphasized that Huawei Uganda is seen as a fine example of a Chinese company that not only looks for profits for itself but also looks for win-win results by giving back to the local community and its young generation so that business and friendship could last.
The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon. Chris Baryomunsi who wasn’t present at the award ceremony in a video call thanked Huawei for the collaboration they have established with Ugandan universities and as well as their partnership with the Ministry. Baryomunsi concluded his remarks by saying “The Ministry remains committed to ensuring that digital transformation becomes a reality in this country.”
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance Dr. Aminah Zawedde who was present at the award ceremony congratulated all the winners taking pride in the female winners and she called upon all girls to take part in such competitions and not to be left for only the males.
Zawedde noted that the government aspires to increase access and use of ICT across the entire population and is banking on reputable companies like Huawei to drive the national agenda. “This will serve as a way of improving service delivery, employment, and social transformation through utilization of quality as well as affordable ICT services in all spheres of life.” “We are excited and proud that youth are fully embracing ICT through participation in competitions such as these and later on performing excellently till the top.”
“I am happy that Huawei creates such initiatives and supports the government in this journey of digital transformation,” said Zawedde.
Mr. Gao Fei, Huawei Managing Director thanked the government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education for making Huawei’s work in Uganda so easy by providing an enabling environment and maintaining a very good investment climate.
“In this new era of digital, Huawei looks forward to accelerating scientific and technological innovation among Ugandan youth, investing in knowledge innovation and talent development to bridge the gap between schools and enterprises,” explains Gao Fei.
Gao Fei noted that Huawei through its “training initiatives” aligns school majors and industry sectors, course content and professional qualifications, teaching structures and production processes, and talent development and employment. “Huawei provides a comprehensive solution that covers the entire ICT talent development process from course development, trainer enablement, to lab environment setup, and from talent certification, competition, to employment.”
Mr. Rogers Irumba Kaija, the Undersecretary Ministry of Education and Sports said the Ministry partnered with Huawei for the Seeds for the Future program and over the years they have always made it a point to play an active role in the implementation of the digital upskilling initiatives in schools and universities across the country.
“I call upon Huawei Uganda to begin exploring the possibilities for delivery of infrastructure that will bring our education and sports sector up to speed with the dynamic changes and resulting challenges that have been presented by the 21st century,” said Kaija.
Kaija also noted that the Ministries and the government believe that the skills that are being imparted through programs such as the ICT Academy, ICT Competition, and Seeds for the Future are relevant to the country’s transformational agenda. “They act as a crucial platform for sharing the latest ICT technologies, enriching students’ work experience and equipping them with relevant skills for the dynamic world of work,” he explained.
Huawei has already set up over 17 ICT academies, trained over 5000 youths, certified over 2800, trained over 4500 through the ICT Competition, and given over 400 internships up to date.
“We are so enthusiastic to do more in regard to digital upskilling because of the understanding ICTs have enormous opportunities that Uganda can exploit to transform the economy and peoples’ lives through job creation, accelerated economic growth, and significantly increased productivity just as the Uganda 2040 digital vision,” explained Gao Fei.
Gao Fei said fruits from their digital upskilling have begun to show. Recently, a group of Makerere University students through the Huawei ICT Competition Innovation track used Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, and Storage technology to design an app project that can test HIV and Malaria using a phone fingerprint scan.
Meanwhile, PC Tech Magazine did get a testimonial from one of the students who has participated in these competitions.
Catherine Nakyanzi, one of the finalists in the Regional ICT competition and a student of Makerere University, thanked Huawei for giving her a lifetime opportunity to develop her ICT skills.
“The competition motivated me and encouraged me to make more research and become innovative. Our quickest mobile app as Kilo-Tech diagnoses HIV malaria without pricking blood from the patient. We did this to save Ugandans the queues at health facilities,” said Nakyanzi.