Staff Reporter, Dar es Salaam
Six Tanzanian students from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) have qualified for the Huawei Global ICT competition following an excellent performance in the recently ended Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa ICT Competition finals. The Competition Online Award Ceremony was held on Oct 29, 2020.
The competition aims at providing a platform for global ICT talents to showcase their ability, compete and communicate, encouraging ICT-related study, and drive the growth of a robust ICT talent ecosystem.
13 winning teams from Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Zambia and other Regions including America will compete to be the champion in November’s global final.
Among the winning teams that received awards during the ceremony, 10 teams come from Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Lesotho entered the global final after a fierce competition in network track; while the cloud track sees the victories of 3 teams who are from Nigeria, Mauritius, and Zambia.
Team Tanzania had 9 students grouped into three teams. Two Tanzanian teams made it to the global final, one of the two teams being the first winner among the 40+ teams that participated in the competition, and the second team finished in 4th place and therefore won the second prize.
The two teams are made up of students from UDSM’s College of Information and Communication Technologies (COICT). First Prize Winners were Mpoki Abel Mwaisela, Hongo Kelvin, and Henry Kihanga while Second Prize Winners were Aghatus Biro, John Lazaro, and Elisante Akaro
The awards ceremony marks Sub-Saharan Africa’s five consecutive years of active participation in the Huawei ICT Competition, which attracted more than 50,000 students from 14 countries in Africa with its slogan of “Connection, Glory, and the Future” and the latest ICT knowledge such as cloud computing, AI, mobile networks, and big data.
During the awards ceremony attended by high-rank government officials, industry leaders, and students, Huawei Middle East and Africa VP, Hou Tao highlighted the impressive enthusiasm of the students, which is much needed for Africa’s digital inclusion in the era when the gravity of workplace skills is already shifting online.
“International experience suggests that this is a key area where public-private partnerships can have a substantial impact. “ Mr. Hou says, “As a private company serving the African market for over 20 years, Huawei has dedicated itself to and will always remain a trusted partner of governments and academia in building ICT talent pool, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence.”
Speaking as the representative of the University educators, Prof. Funso Falade, President of African Engineering Education Association (AEEA) identified several challenges militating against the training of engineers in Africa such as funding, brain drain, and weak university/industry partnership. He then acknowledged Huawei’s constructive role in addressing these challenges.
“The skills development opportunities provided by Huawei Technologies Company Limited are in line with AEEA goal and aspiration for our students and a critical area where we now require a lot of expertise in Africa more than ever before going by the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our educational system,” he added.
The awards ceremony closed with good wishes and encouragement to students who qualify for November’s global final. “Good luck in the global final, I look forward to an African team taking the top spot.” Says Mr. Hou.
Huawei ICT Competition is one of the biggest events of its kind. Among participating countries, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa held national opening or awards ceremony where multiple ministers and officials in science and education spoke to laud the ICT competition’s positive role in cultivating the African science and technology talent pool.