Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, and Addis Ababa University (AAU), the oldest and largest higher education institute in the Eastern African country, on Tuesday inaugurated an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Practice Center realized by Huawei in AAU's Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT).
The center will deliver hands-on practical and innovative experience for students and professionals in the sector.
The project aims to delivering hands-on practical experience for students and professionals, targeting to train more than 2,000 engineers including students and teachers to boost talent ecosystem of Ethiopia in the coming three years.
The project is implemented with an investment amounting to some 2.1 million U.S. dollars, including a donation of equipment worth about 1.9 million U.S. dollars for training and demonstration, and Train the Trainer program to AAiT teaching staff.
According to the cooperation mode, Huawei installed the demo equipment on the premises of the AAU Pharmacy Campus, and operates it for three years period, after which, Addis Ababa University will fully take over the ownership of the practice center.
During the ceremony, Huawei also handed over 30,000-dollar scholarship fund to Addis Ababa University for 10 postgraduate students annually within 3 years.
Hailing the project's role in filling the skill gap, and also in supporting efforts of producing highly qualified graduates, which in turn help the country realizing the vision of digital economy, Mulu Nega, Ethiopia's State Minster of Science and Higher Education, said, "Huawei is very active in the field of digitalization of education and ICT content embedding is a global trend and the future of the nation."
Speaking on his part, Tassew Woldehana, President of Addis Ababa University, noted that the Huawei-AAU ICT Practice Center plays a significant role in enabling students to be equipped with appropriate skill, which the country needs, as it is in the process of liberalizing the telecom sector.
Reiterating that the country's telecom sector has been awarded to private sector recently, the president underlined the need that universities in the country need to graduate capable people who can join those companies that need qualified and skilled graduates in the ICT sector.
Stating also that digital economy is very important for Ethiopia's economic growth, and that his university is engaged with providing qualified and capable human power with the appropriate knowledge and practical skills, Tassew said the center will serve not only the university, but all Ethiopians. "I would like to thank Huawei for this great initiative."
Huawei is currently implementing multiple projects benefiting thousands of students and industrial practitioners with a view of building ICT capacity and improving ICT development in Ethiopia.
These projects include the flagship program Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei ICT Competition, Seeds for the Future exchange program, as well as ICT Handshaking forum - a job fair connecting the industry and ICT talents. Since first ICT academy launched in 2018, Huawei has partnered with 36 universities on educational activities. Huawei also aligned with Jobs Creation Commission in talent cultivation and hiring projects.
The ICT practice center is Huawei's initiative to build ICT talent and industrial ecosystem in Ethiopia and deliver practical experience for students and professionals using high end ICT equipment.
Philippe Wang, Executive Vice-President of Huawei Northern Africa, said the ICT practice center was launched to fill the experience and knowledge gap in the sector and the students will get deeper understanding of industry.
"Building a long-term relation and platform for resource sharing, joint development efforts and mutual benefits is the responsibility for us all. I firmly believe Huawei-AUU ICT Practice Center, together with Huawei ICT Academy will be the cornerstone in achieving this common target," Wang said.