A group of three African students and graduates recently got the experience of a lifetime when they were invited to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) as part of Huawei’s Digital Talent Summit. The group, who were part of Huawei’s Seeds for the Future initiative, also got to see how the programme is set to evolve in the near future.
The Seeds for the Future alumni joined 37 other students from around the globe to participate in the world’s largest mobile trade show. There they were given the opportunity to discover the latest technologies from Huawei and its industry peers and learn why talent cultivation, gender equality, and environmental sustainability make the ICT industry stronger.
All three felt privileged to have the opportunity to attend Mobile World Congress and the Digital Talent Summit.
“I am so honoured to have been part of the Digital Talent Summit,” says South Africa’s Nduvho Madzivhandila, who is a business information systems honours student at the University of Venda. “It’s a great opportunity to learn from industry leaders and network with other professionals in the field.”
“I felt incredibly grateful to be selected to be a part of the Huawei Digital Talent.
Summit,” says Nigeria’s Ugheoke Anthony Oshiobugie, who is a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt and currently a Huawei employee. “It was a validation of my skills and hard work, and it meant a lot to be recognised by as prestigious an organisation as Huawei.”
Zambia’s Violet Nyakunzu, meanwhile, said that, “being given the opportunity to be a part of the Digital Talent Summit was not only overwhelming but also exhilarating. Through this journey, it was very insightful to learn about culture, customs, food, tech, and generally life from an international standpoint.”
All three also took a lot from the summit and from interacting with other students from around the world.
“My biggest take home was how, to date, digital technologies are becoming increasingly important
in addressing many of today’s global challenges,” says Nyakunzu. “Therefore it is evident that digitalisation is vital in transforming our world and economic growth.”
“The summit offered insights into the latest technologies and strategies being used by Huawei and industry leaders to stay ahead of the competition,” says Madzivhandila. “The biggest learning I took away was the importance of building and maintaining strong professional relationships.”
Oshiobugie also spoke about the lessons learned around digitalisation, but added that there were other significant takeaways from the summit.
“I learned about the significance of staying curious, seeking out new learning opportunities, and staying up to date with emerging trends and technologies in the field,” Oshiobugie says.
During the summit, Huawei also announced that it had joined the UNESCO Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL). The announcement sees Huawei partner with the Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), which serves as the Secretariat of the GAL. Huawei and the UIL agreed to jointly promote the use of technology to raise literacy. The two parties also signed a cooperation agreement under which Huawei will fund an expansion of the UIL’s current initiatives to enhance educators’ use of technology in developing countries.
The Digital Talent Summit also saw Huawei unveil the evolution of its Seeds programme.
“I’m pleased to announce that we’re launching an expanded SEEDS talent framework,” said Huawei’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, Vicky Zhang. “It’s a new set of principles that will guide our worldwide talent cultivation programs. SEEDS will now stand for Surpass, Exploration, Employability, Daring to challenge, and Sustainability!”
The new framework not only covers Huawei’s Seeds for the Future programme but also its ICT Academy and various other talent development initiatives. This includes the Women in Tech programme and the Tech4All programme which supports sustainability goals and aims to close the digital divide.
As part of the summit, the students got the chance to interact with a number of senior players in the technology sector, including African Telecommunications Union (ATU) chief John Omo, who also delivered the summit keynote. That he was able to take such a hands-on approach shows his organisation’s deep commitment to empowering Africa’s youth with tech skills and encouraging African innovation.
“I want to commend Huawei for making sure that African students are represented in this activity and can benefit from it,” Omo said in his keynote. “In my experience, Huawei has shown year after year its strong commitment to Africa, and especially to supporting youth and talent development in Africa. It is critical that youth in Africa have access to global opportunities and can be a part of global conversations.”
That sense of being part of a global community was echoed in the way the three African students spoke about their fellow Seeds for the Future alumni and their common determination to use technology for good.
“Many of us shared a passion for using technology to make a positive impact in our communities and industries,” Oshiobugie says. “We recognised the potential of technology to address social and economic challenges and create new opportunities for growth and development.”
“As students from around the world, most of us shared common academic interests and career aspirations,” says Madzivhandila. “Most of us are pursuing similar degrees or have similar career goals, such as working in technology.”
“We may be divided by seas and oceans but when we came together as Seeds For The Future,” says Nyakunza, “it proved that we all have a common goal and are all sprouting as different branches from one tree.”