Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has set plans and intention to train up to 3 million African youths to work with cutting-edge digital technology such as artificial intelligence.
Recall that Nigerian students who already took part in a Huawei-sponsored information and communications technology (ICT) competition say the benefits are enormous, including possible job placements with the company.
Huawei said it introduced the competition to Africa in 2014 to identify and nurture highly skilled ICT professionals, and also as a part of its expanding talent search in Africa’s tech sector that has benefited some 2,000 African students like Muhammad Maihaja and Hamza Atabor.
Muhammad Maihaja is a Computer Engineering finalist, who is set to graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria’s Kaduna state in November. He was part of a team of six from the school who represented Nigeria at the global Huawei ICT competition in Shenzhen, China in 2019, where they finished in third place.
The competition however evaluates students’ competence in network and cloud technology, and Maihaja alongside his team success in 2019 was a rare achievement for an African team, let alone a first-time participant. The victory inspired many other students like Hamza Atabor who tried out for the next edition in 2020 and this time won the competition.
Speaking concerning the competition, Maihaja said
“We have been exposed to devices and technologies we’ve never experienced before. As normal university students, we would not have experienced what we did experience in the competition. So, I’ll say this has made me much more ICT inclined”.
Atabor, in his own opinion, said he was inspired by the victory stories on how they won the competition, and also the prices that were given. He added the push was everything and felt this is something to actually make a sacrifice for.
Meanwhile, as students like Maihaja and Atabor are meeting Huawei’s set objective, critics and experts say the company is only a fragment of China’s fast-paced dominance in Africa’s technology landscape, warning that there could be potential negative impacts of China’s growing tech influence in Africa.
Concerns about China’s presence in Africa grew in 2019 after U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, reported that Huawei had helped Ugandan and Zambian authorities spy on political opponents.
However, the telecommunications giant, Huawei issued a statement denying the accusations and also declined an interview on the matter.