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Huawei adds AI to its free online training for ICT students

by Byron Adonis Mutingwende

Huawei Zimbabwe has added online training in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to its portfolio of free training it offers to Zimbabwe ICT students of higher learning. This as part of its commitment to training in 4IR technologies such as 5G and cloud computing, which it kicked off last year.

This was revealed by Huawei CEO Shao Jie at the online opening ceremony for the 2020 ‘Seeds for the Future’ training programme to empower young people with globally relevant ICT skills.

The Seeds for the Future is Huawei’s global flagship CSR programme, designed to develop skilled, local ICT talent and bridge communication between countries and cultures. In Zimbabwe the programme is run in partnership with the Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Higher Education and Telone. Every year, they give a group of outstanding students the chance to study new technologies and experience Chinese culture on a study trip to Beijing and Shenzhen.

This year, Seeds for the Future is going online due to the global Covid 19 pandemic. The 10 course participants – selected from hundreds of applicants – will follow live-streamed lectures and online course material. The course includes modules on 5G broadband, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, as well as virtual tours of the Huawei campus in Dongguan, China; interactions with other course participants from around the world and access to Chinese cultural resources.

At the launch, Huawei Zimbabwe CEO Shao Jie announced that Huawei had also begun its first free online AI training programme for university and TVET college students in Gauteng and Limpopo. A total of 122 students are attending, and by the end of the course they will be able to design, develop, and innovate AI products and solutions.

“To function in the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution, ICT skills will be indispensable – for organizations, for individuals, and for society,” said Shao.  

The launch was attended by Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services Honourable Dr. Jenfan Muswere, who endorsed Huawei’s investment in youth ICT development and highlighted the importance of tech skills in the new economy.

He said the government was committed to working with progressive partners that invest in the people of Zimbabwe so they too can participate effectively and meaningfully in the digital future.

The launch was also attended by Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Honourable Mrs. Monica Mutsvangwa.

Shao said that Huawei was conscious of the need to enhance Zimbabwe’s ICT ecosystem on every front, and that Seeds for the Future programme was part of its commitment to doing this. 

“We believe it is crucial that global leading companies like ourselves partner with universities in skills transfer and we will enable Zimbabwean universities to provide the skilled workforce that employers need, and that will drive the continued transformation of the economy.” he said.

Zou Xiaoming, Charges business’ Affairs of the Chinese embassy said that initiatives such as Seeds for the Future encouraged localisation of talent in African countries, and were a great step towards fulfilling aspirations of national development.

“Zimbabwe is one of countries that has developed the best education system is SADC even in Africa. This Seeds for the Future programme will enhance this education edge by preparing these young academics to thrive in a global, technology- and innovation-centric economy and the opportunities it presents.” he said.

Shao said that the emerging ICT ecosystem was globally integrated, as evidenced by the worldwide move to 5G technology. To address this, Huawei had been running free 5G training courses for ICT students over the past year, which is progressing well, despite the lockdown.

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