Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) “China is exemplary in the way it rapidly progresses in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and Huawei’s investment in developing ICT talent is enabling Pakistan to upgrade its information technology industry”. These thoughts were expressed by H.E. Naghmana Hashmi, Ambassador for Pakistan in China, during a speech at the award ceremony for Huawei’s Middle East ICT Competition 2019 at company headquarters in Shenzhen, China. Two teams from Pakistan participated in the final, earning second and third place.
At the award ceremony, H.E. Hashmi stated: “In the futuristic era of digitalization, the importance of ICT cannot be underestimated. With the advancement and innovation in modern technology, ICT has come to the fore as the primary vehicle of sustainable and robust development around the globe. Huawei’s initiatives to launch smart schools in Pakistan, in addition to the Huawei ME ICT Competition, enables us to build young talent within the sector to prepare them, and the country, for the digitally-driven world of tomorrow.”
The ICT sector is having an increased impact on societies and businesses alike. Countries across the region recognize this, and have implemented plans – such as Pakistan Vision 2025 – to take advantage of new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud, which support the realization of digital transformation, national plans and visions. In order to do this, however, there is a need to address the talent gap that currently exists within the ICT sector.
Huawei is keen to support the development of the ICT ecosystem in Pakistan. One of the ways it does so is the Huawei ME ICT Competition, in partnership with the Higher Education Commission Pakistan, which nurtures local ICT talent, working with government authorities, colleges and universities in the Middle East to identify, support, and grow the future leaders of ICT. The competition promotes innovation and creativity while increasing national ICT competitiveness and encouraging local communities to contribute towards achieving digital transformation and economic growth. Participating students have the opportunity to enhance their ICT knowledge, practical and application skills as well as raising their innovation awareness, thereby enhancing their chances of employability within the sector – especially with national winners receiving an immersive experience at the company headquarters in Shenzhen, China, in addition to employment opportunities and other prizes. Through the competition, Huawei facilitates connections between international talent, providing equal opportunities for quality education with the aim of enabling more people to benefit from the digital economy.
Over the course of 2019, the competition attracted more than 21,000 student registrations from 437 colleges and universities in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This year’s final had a total of 13 teams and 20 ministries participate from countries across the Middle East.