Huawei has formally launched its LEAP digital skills development programme. Announcing this at its ICT Competition Awards Ceremony, the company said LEAP aims to help advance the ICT skills of more than 100,000 people across the Sub-Saharan Africa region within three years.
More than 15,000 students from over 200 universities and colleges from Sub-Saharan Africa participated in the 2021-2022 Huawei ICT Competition. From the 48 competing teams, Nigerian and Kenyan teams won first prize in the regional final. Teams from Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania claimed second prize.
LEAP is an acronym for Leadership, Employability, Advancement and Possibility, and 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.
The LEAP programme will be rolled out based on the company’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 centers, hardware installation bases, innovation hubs, mirror labs, and ICT academies. Huawei currently has ICT academies at more than 300 universities and colleges in the region.
Launching the LEAP programme, Huawei Southern Africa President, Leo Chen stressed the importance of ICT skills transfer and talent development and underlined Huawei’s consistent emphasis on it.
“Digitisation is deeply rooted in people. We digitise for people and by people. When roots are deep, there is no need to fear the wind,” he said. “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.”
At the ceremony, Leo Chen also called for close collaboration between government, industry, and academia to create an ecosystem that everyone can contribute to and benefit from. The Huawei 2021 Excellent Global Talent Ecosystem Partner Award was presented to the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO). Kenyatta University and Ahmadu Bello University were awarded the Best Performance Academy of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa ICT Competition 2021-2022.
Over the past two decades, Huawei has already 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.
“Huawei’s ICT Competition has provided students like me with a network of industry trainers, instructors, and learning tools, allowing us to obtain a competitive advantage and engage with other students on a global stage,” said Ashtone Onyango, a member of the winning Kenyan team. “This is crucial for students as it not only helps them enhance their abilities but also increases their job market competitiveness.”
The Huawei ICT competition has grown into the biggest competition of its kind in Africa and across the globe. It offers a global stage for students to showcase and practice their ICT knowledge and skills. Over the past 5 years, 80 000 university students from Africa registered for the competition, and more than 20 teams entered the global finals.