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Huawei launched its LEAP digital skills development program. Announced at its ICT Competition Award Ceremony in Johannesburg South Africa. LEAP

aims to help advance the ICT skills of more than 100,000 students, youth and partners across Sub-Saharan Africa within three years.

 LEAP which is an acronym for Leadership, Employability, Advancement and Possibility, is aimed at fostering 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.

 Launching the LEAP program, Huawei Southern Africa President, Leo Chen stressed the importance of ICT skills transfer and talent development and underlined Huawei’s consistent emphasis on it.

 “Digitization is deeply rooted in people. Because we digitize for people and by people. When roots are deep, there is no need to fear the wind,” he said. “Through the program, 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. In doing so, it has helped increase youth employability and bridge the gender gap in the ICT industry.

Huawei itself is an employer of choice in the region. Its subsidiaries in 9 Sub-Saharan African countries earned the Top Employer seal in 2021.

Winning smiles; Kenyatta University top prize winner led by Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Wainaina VC with (from left to right) students  Ashtone Onyango, Lecturer Michael MunyaoCatherine Wanja, Michael Kamau (Huawei Kenya Enterprise Business Dept.) and  Stephen Katona.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ms. Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, said “It takes you, as the LEAP, Seeds For the Future and Huawei ICT Academy Program participants to leapfrog us 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 intentional to leapfrog our countries. We need innovation, we need to support local innovators, and we need to promote our platforms throughout the continent to reach scale and develop our economies. We are only bigger when our market is bigger, and we must walk together.” Other speakers included Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Tanzania, Prof Eliamani Sadoyeka, Dr. John Chrysestom Muyingo, Ugandan State Minister for Higher Education of Ministry of Education and Sports

 The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred digital adoption across Africa. This increases the demand for more digital skills and talent. According to a World Bank, study on Digital Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 230 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030.

 That makes programs like LEAP even more critical. The Huawei ICT Competition is one of the important components of Huawei’s talent development efforts.

 More than 15,000 students from over 200 universities and colleges in Sub-Saharan Africa participated in the 2021-2022 Huawei ICT Competition. Of the 48 competing teams, Nigerian and Kenyan teams won the first Grand Prize in the Network, Cloud and Innovation Regional Final. Other Teams from Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania claimed the 1st and 2nd Prize Award.

 “Programs such as the Huawei ICT Competition are helping the country make considerable strides towards establishing a more innovation-driven economy.” Noted Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Kenyatta University Prof. Paul Wainaina. He further added that by supporting university students we are not only supporting the government achieve its Vision 2030 but also building the capacity among youth to complement academia in to steer the country’s talent in the right direction”

 The winning teams in Innovation Track and Cloud Track were from Kenyatta University. Machakos University also qualified for the Global Final. Total 3 teams from Kenya have qualified for the Global final to be held in May 2022.Kenyatta University was also awarded as the Best Performing University in Huawei ICT Competition 2021-2022.

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