HARARE, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Huawei Zimbabwe has kicked off its annual Seeds for the Future program for undergraduate university students which aims to develop local ICT talent.
This year the number of participants has increased to 30 from the previous 10, giving more ICT students from Zimbabwe's top universities the opportunity to take part in the prestigious event.
The program, which will run from May 24 to 31, will be held virtually for the second time due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Seeds for the Future program is Huawei's biggest global flagship Corporate Social Responsibility program which aims to nurture young ICT professionals in countries where Huawei operates.
"We believe it is crucial that global leading companies like ourselves partner with universities in skills transfer.
"In this way, we hope that we will enable Zimbabwean universities to provide the skilled workforce that employers need, and that will drive the continued transformation of the economy," Chad Wei, Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Zimbabwe said during the launch of the program.
This year's selected participants will get insights into the latest developments in the global ICT industry, and will also study different courses exploring the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, 5G, and the Internet of Things.
In addition, the students will also have the opportunity to experience virtual tours of Huawei's campuses in China, and will take part in virtual visits to Chinese historical sites.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Zimbabwe's ICT minister Jenfan Muswere said the program will go a long way in filling Zimbabwe's ICT talent gap.
"One of the key challenges we are facing in growing the ICT sector is the lack of skilled ICT professionals. It is therefore pleasing to note that Huawei has made supporting skills development one of their key priorities for building a better connected Zimbabwe," he said.
Muswere noted that the program dovetails with the government's digitization efforts.
"The Seeds for the Future program is in line with the ministry's digitization strategy and our mission to provide an efficient national information communication technology delivering framework and to maintain national cybersecurity," Muswere said.
One of the beneficiaries of this year's program, Anesu Mzondiwa, an Electronic Engineering student from the National University of Science and Technology, said the program will greatly help advance the ICT sector in Zimbabwe.
"This program will surely open our minds and give us a better perspective of how to advance ourselves, family businesses, and our country and help us find innovative solutions to Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond.
"Surely learning about 5G, Internet of Things, cloud computing, and other cutting edge technologies from the very best will boost our profiles higher than we have ever dreamt of," Mzondiwa said.
Speaking at the same event, Wang Wei, Counselor at the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe, said the initiative by Huawei is one of several programs by the Chinese community that helps build a bond between China and ordinary Zimbabweans.
"Over the past decades, the local Chinese community has built a strong bond with ordinary Zimbabweans.
"While the economic benefits of jobs and value addition they bring to this country is important, I believe the amity and goodwill they have created is even more significant. This is the foundation for an ever-lasting friendship between China and Zimbabwe," Wang said.
Zimbabwe's First Lady and Matron of the Seeds for the Future program Auxillia Mnangagwa expressed gratitude to Huawei for such a kind gesture, adding that it will aid in cultivating practical skills for local students.
"ICT improves engagement and knowledge retention so we need the ability to produce and use information effectively. However, in many of our academic programs, there is a gap between the knowledge learned in the classroom and the skills that are necessary in the real world. Through the Seeds for the Future program, Huawei helps resolve this problem," she said.
During the launch ceremony, the Chinese embassy and Huawei Zimbabwe declared a donation to the Angel of Hope Foundation founded by Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Huawei has over the years developed a number of frameworks that seek to advance Zimbabwe's ICT sector.
The frameworks include the Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei ICT Talent Ecosystem, and the Seeds for the Future program.
Zimbabwean universities have partnered with Huawei to become Huawei ICT academies and offer courses in Cloud Computing, AI, the Internet of Things, and many more. Enditem