African ICT students emerged among the world’s best at the Huawei ICT Competition Global finals, taking top prizes at an awards ceremony held this weekend. Two teams from Nigeria won grand prizes, while teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mauritius all earned the highest level of achievement for the first time in what is seen as one of the biggest ICT events globally.

Despite being the newest contestants of Huawei ICT Competition since 2017, African students have made stunning progress this year. In 2019, only five African teams made it to the global final and reaped only one third prize, compared with 13 teams this year, winning a total of seven medals.

Hamza Atabor Adenoi, a Nigerian student from Ahmadu Bello University who won the grand prize, shared his experience with Huawei and the competition, while speaking on behalf of triumphant teams. “This journey with Huawei came with benefits such as professional certification in the fields of interest,” he said. “Huawei gave students the opportunity to learn skills which are recognized in the world of ICT. Huawei provided us with a platform to experience and practice on new, innovative and cutting-edge technology to grow and develop ourselves.”

The students’ achievement is due to African countries’ continued recognition and efforts to build a competitive ICT talent pool among the young generation, who will be an indispensable accelerator for the continent’s post-COVID recovery and digitization.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the training and competition activities were completed online. The victorious students had a good reason to rejoice after over 10 months of hard work and fierce competition all the way from national screening contests, the regional final, and the global final.

Speaking on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Special Assistant on Youth & Students Affairs, Mr. Nasir Saidu Adhama, said “I congratulate the Nigerian students for coming this far in this Global ICT Competition. I also thank Huawei for supporting our Nigerian students and hope Huawei will continue to partner with the country in developing our ICT capabilities.”

Over the past five years, Huawei has signed cooperation agreements with over 250 universities in 14 Sub-Saharan countries on establishing Huawei ICT academies. This cooperation has enabled more than 7,000 university students to obtain Huawei ICT certification, which makes them better candidates for ICT-related jobs.

Mr. Hou Tao, Global Vice President of Huawei, highlighted the impressive enthusiasm of the students, which is much needed to for Africa’s digital inclusion in the era when the gravity of workplace skills is already shifting online. “As a private company serving the African market for over 20 years, Huawei has dedicated itself to and will always remain a trusted partner of governments and academia in building a competitive ICT talent pool, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence,” said Mr. Hou.

This year’s Huawei ICT Competition attracted nearly 150,000 students from over 2,000 universities in over 82 countries. 327 students from 39 countries participated in the online global final, making the scale the largest in all years. Teams from Zambia, Lesotho, and South Africa also reached the global final.