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Establish Global ICT Centre For Nigerians, Africans, Pantami Tasks Huawei

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FMoCDE Huawei
R-L: The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami having a handshake with the managing director, Huawei, Mr. Trevor Liu during the ceremony in Abuja.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has urged technology company, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., to establish a global ICT centre for the training of Nigerians and Africans.

He requested this during the kick-off of the implementation of the Federal Government and Huawei memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at providing ICT skills to Nigerian youths yesterday in Abuja.

The MoU aims at promoting the partnership between the ministry and Huawei to establish two core ICT projects in Nigeria – the Huawei ICT Academy Project and the Huawei ICT Talent Cultivation Project – in line with the ministry’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for the development and promotion of digital economy and growth in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian government is thankful to Huawei, considering how the country has benefited from the CSR programmes. President Muhammadu Buhari, GCSF, appreciates the work of Huawei and is encouraging Huawei to do more on the Nigerian soil since Nigeria is the largest and biggest market in Africa. Huawei (should) establish a global training centre in Nigeria to train Nigerians and other African countries on information and communication technologies (ICT)”.

Pantami thanked the managing director, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, Mr. Trevor Liu, for his continued partnership with the ministry.

He highlighted the fact that the Federal Government has provided an enabling environment for international companies to invest and do business in Nigeria. The administration has come up with “36 initiatives to enable the ease of doing business in Nigeria, signing an executive order to address the challenges faced by international companies to provide accountability, transparency, e-govt, tax holiday, visa on arrival etc., which has moved Nigeria higher in the world ranking of ease of doing business. These are parts of the administration’s determination to prioritise skills, especially in the digital economy sector.”

Huawei will make available, its technology and trainers to help curb the rate of unemployment In Nigeria by providing jobs, experience, opportunities and ICT certifications to students each year to increase their market competitiveness.

According to the minister, the implementation of the MoU will see more than 100,000 Nigerians benefit from the initiative beyond the agreement. The skills gained by the students will enable them to become entrepreneurs in the nearest future.

This partnership will enable the development of over 300 ICT academies in top-rated universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria. At least 10,000 university students from reputable universities – on the recommendation of the ministry – will be trained each year with a total of 30,000 students in 3 years. This will include training sessions, competitions and other activities incidental to the operation of the ICT academy. 

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, who was present at the event expressed delight at the privilege of witnessing the initiative.

“I salute the minister’s support in making Nigeria an outstanding country in ICT because the digital economy develops a country and develops young talents. The Chinese embassy would continue to support the corporation to make a difference. We would sustain this initiative and ensure the university, minister and students testify to the initiative,” he said.

Jianchun, who is China’s 14th ambassador to Nigeria, highlighted nine other programmes of Africa-China cooperation over the next three years which will further strengthen Africa-China practical cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. They include programmes in medical and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity-building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, as well as peace and security.

“The Digital Innovation Programme is being implemented today. I want to assure you that we are working with the relevant authorities in Nigeria. For example, besides ensuring food security and provision, the Ministry of Agriculture is engaged in the production of traditional herbs, as a ‘side’ project that is very important.”

In his goodwill message, the vice chancellor of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Prof. Muhammad Abdulazeez, applauded Huawei for enhancing the skills of students in ICT. He stated that he would ensure that more students pass through the Huawei training and be provided with certifications. He further thanked the minister for his unrelenting support in providing ICT innovations for Nigerians particularly supporting educational skills for ICT for students.

Similarly, the registrar, Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno, Brig. Gen. SS Ibrahim, in his speech at the event, stated that: “The cooperation between Huawei and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy is good for the country in human capacity development and ICT. The partnership is a sure foundation and strategy for the development of ICT and human capacity. This collaboration means that ICT in Nigeria is going in the right direction. More so, the minister has made noteworthy changes and contributions to the development of ICT which has benefited the Nigerian youth.

“The Nigerian Army University, established in 2018, has decided to follow suit in ICT and partner with telecoms giant, Huawei, to fortify its students with the latest technology. I want to acknowledge and appreciate the minister for being productive in developing the ICT sector and the management of Huawei for taking the bold step in the Nigerian ICT sector.”

In his remarks, Liu thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria and the minister for giving Huawei the enabling environment to operate and touch lives in Nigeria.

“Our vision and mission in Huawei have been to bring digital technology to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei has pushed this vision through many channels – some of which are the ICT Talent Cultivation Initiative, The Seeds for the Future Programme, Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei ICT Competition and The Job Fair. This is because we strongly believe that digital transformation is about talents and not all about technology.”

He appreciated the minister for “identifying and seeing the need for talent cultivation and development and for also seeing Huawei Technologies as a partner to work towards actualising this goal.” 

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