Huawei partners with DCDT to help students develop technology for good

2021 Seeds for the Future Launch in South Africa

Huawei and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) kicked off 2021 edition of their Seeds for the Future course, aimed at preparing ICT students for the future of work.

Now in its sixth year, the course aims to inspire local talent, improve knowledge sharing, promote greater understanding and interest in the ICT sector, and encourage participation in the digital community.

In addition to classes on the latest 5G, Cloud, AI, and IoT technologies, students are also introduced to Chinese culture and language, which aim to foster cross-cultural understanding. In this year’s program, the goal is to get students to think about how to use technology to solve social and environmental issues as part of Huawei’s Tech4Good program.

Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong, DCDT Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Huawei SA CEO, Spawn Fan and the 12 candidates of Seeds for the Future 2021 attended the event.

As the pace of technological advancement accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, Huawei and the DCDT saw the importance of empowering the young tech workers of tomorrow with the means to use technology to solve local and global problems. . Students will also gain problem-solving and leadership skills through teamwork and deepen their personal mission and sense of social responsibility.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies

“Since the launch of the Seeds for the Future initiative in 2016, it remains important for our journey towards bridging the digital divide,” said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies. “As we open the Seeds for the Future program, the technologies that we have seen as technologies of the future are here with us in full force. “

The Minister noted that as a world leader in new technologies, Huawei’s contribution was very valuable, not only for individual students, but for the South African economy.

“I hope that the students benefiting from this initiative will appreciate the value of this program and act as real seeds and multiply for the benefit of our country, the SADC region and our continent.

“The technologies that drive the Fourth industrial revolution (4IR) can be quite difficult to understand, ”said Spawn fan, CEO of Huawei South Africa, “But as long as we continue to learn, it won’t be a problem. “

As Fan pointed out, if South Africa was to truly take advantage of emerging 4IR technologies, it needed people with the skills and leadership to use them properly. This, he added, has made programs like Seeds for the Future critical.

“We want to encourage and develop a sense of social responsibility and foster innovation among our young people. We want them to think about how to use technology to solve complex global problems, like climate change for example. “

Participants in the Seeds for the Future course, which bridges the gap between academia and the world of work, come from a variety of universities, including those in previously disadvantaged areas. It also favors black and female applicants and targets a minimum of 50-50 men / women.

Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong explained how China has used technology to enable an almost entirely digital society, generating a new stream of economic growth.

“The world is witnessing a new generation of digital technology that is bringing new changes to society and industry,” he said. “During COVID-19, the digital economy had become a major driver of the global economic recovery. According to the World Bank, the digital economy represents 15% of global GDP, while the Chinese digital sector represents 39% of its GDP.

“We strongly support Huawei by showing social responsibility and engaging in win-win cooperation,” he added. “China will continue to cooperate with South Africa to advance development with the digital economy at the heart.”

Computer science student from the University of Limpopo, Vhuthuhawe Munyai, spoke about his expectations for participating in this year’s program.

“During the Huawei Seeds for the Future program, I expect to learn more about networking technology, namely 5G, AI and cloud computing. With the Huawei introductory courses I attended online, I have already learned a lot and am still looking forward to learning and growing more in this field. He added that ICT held great promise for the development of his hometown of Makhado in Limpopo, and he wanted to be part of the solution.

Between 2016 and 2019, 40 students traveled to China for the annual program. But in 2020, due to the global pandemic lockdown, the course was conducted online and Huawei was able to increase the number of applicants to 50. Including 2021, more than 100 students are said to have benefited from the flagship global CSR program of Huawei.

The eight-day course began on November 15 and ends on November 22.

James C. Tibbs