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In an era in which digital transformation is paramount, Nigeria is at the forefront of embracing this global trend. However, the success of this transformation hinges on the availability of skilled professionals in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), who are the most valuable assets in Nigeria’s journey towards a digitally-driven future.
In today’s global landscape, digital transformation has emerged as an undeniable force, which is particularly critical for Africa. The Nigerian telecommunications sector has attracted over $75.6 billion in investments, contributing a substantial 15 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The rapid growth of the ICT industry presents vast economic and societal opportunities. Nevertheless, according to the observations from Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, the chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Nigeria is losing the brightest and best hands in the industry, especially the ICT sector. In 2022 alone, over 2,000 ICT professionals left Nigeria. If this trend continues, by 2030, the telecommunications industry in Nigeria could find itself in dire straits.
Similarly, Convener of Policy Commission Assisted Forum (PIAF), Omobayo Azeez, who recently delivered a paper on indigenous telecoms sector development, said “Generally, Nigeria is faced with a massive exodus of skilled workers across sectors.”
In this pivotal moment, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited has been actively engaged in nurturing ICT talent in Nigeria, cooperating with government, industries and academies together. More than 50,000 individuals in Nigeria have benefited from Huawei’s multiple ICT talent initiatives. These programmes have played a vital role in building the country’s digital capabilities and empowering the workforce with the skills needed for the evolving digital landscape.
The ICT for Change programme offered E-Government, Cyber Security, 5G, Cloud Service, Big Data and AI training to over 3,000 Federal Government civil servants. The Engineering Training programme, to upskill the ICT workforce to better innovate for development of ICT engineers in Nigeria, was devoted in cultivating Nigerian ICT talents, with the total beneficiaries hitting 13,399.
Other initiatives like the ICT Academy, Seeds for the Future, ICT Job Fair and ICT Competition are programmes for the youths by encouraging and empowering them to build a positive talent eco-system. Huawei ICT Academy trained 162 Nigerian academies and over 37,000 students. Huawei Seeds for the Future sponsors 10 Nigerian students to travel to China for technology and cultural exchange every year. The Huawei Job Fair helps over 8,000 students and job seekers get a chance for job interviews, and among then over 500 got job or internship offers from Huawei and Huawei Partners.
The Huawei ICT Competition, which commenced in 2015, has become a global platform for nurturing talent in the field of information and communications technology. Over the years, the ICT competition has made a significant impact in Nigeria, with the country’s students consistently demonstrating their abilities. Since its introduction in 2018, Nigeria has participated in four sessions of the competition, achieving notable success. The country secured the grand prize in both the network track and cloud track in the 2019/2020 edition, followed by another grand prize in the network track in the 2021/2022 edition. In 2023, the Nigeria Innovation Team’s historic victory in the Innovation Track further solidifies the country’s reputation as a hotbed of technological talents.
Expressing her delight and appreciation for the competition, Jimoh Maryam Ololade, a member of the winning ABU-based Nigeria Innovation Team, shared her impressions of the vibrant city of Shenzhen, China. She marveled at the city’s rapid development, innovative spirit, and its position as a global tech hub. Ololade described the competition as a remarkable experience that showcased the passion, creativity, and talent of all participants. She attributed their team’s success to the collective dedication, hard work, and support from individuals such as Professor M.B. Muazu, their instructor, Mr Aliyu Isa Elayo, professors, and lecturers from ABU’s Faculty of Engineering and Law, as well as Huawei Nigeria.
In addition, the beneficiaries of Huawei’s ICT talent contribution are beyond the talent programmes. Olugbile Felix Adeolu, an engineer at Huawei’s Lagos office, wchanged his own destiny through gaining ICT skills in Huawei. What’s more, Felix contributed to his hometown’s rural network project, bringing connectivity and opportunities to the vast rual areas of Nigeria.
Huawei’s commitment to talent development aligns with Nigeria’s aspirations to build a robust digital economy and harness the potential of technology for sustainable growth. Through the “Three-Year Plan, Thirty Thousand People” project, Huawei plans to further cultivate more ICT talents to address the local shortage of ICT skills and enrich the talent pool. With Huawei’s continued commitment to nurturing talents and advancing technology in Nigeria, the future looks promising for the country’s digital landscape, and the nation’s talents are poised to make even greater strides in the field of ICT.
In August 2023, Huawei solidified its commitment for cultivating ICT talent seeds by signing memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the University of Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Deputy Managing Director of Huawei Nigeria, Mr Stephen Zou, emphasised the company’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s talent development ecosystem. He said, “We gather to connect with our valued academic partners, brought together by the Huawei ICT Talent Ecosystem. This collaborative framework aims to foster strong ties in ICT talent cultivation and development, which is crucial for advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation. We commend all those present for the progress achieved so far.
“We recognise the solid foundation laid by esteemed institutions such as Ahmadu Bello University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, University of Ibadan, University of Port Harcourt, and many more. Your dedicated nurturing of ICT talents underscores your pivotal role in propelling talent development within the nation. Since 1999, Huawei has thrived in the enabling Nigerian environment, emerging as a premier ICT solution provider. Our ICT talent cultivation initiatives exemplify this approach, including the Seeds for the Future programme, Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei ICT Competition, and The Job Fair. We firmly believe that digital transformation hinges on talent, not just technology,” he added.
Huawei, founded in 1987, is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – Huawei is committed to bringing the digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.
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