by GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – HUAWEI and the South African government have strengthened their commitment to jointly build an information and communications technology (ICT) talent ecosystem and support the country’s digital transformation.
The company and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) have held their third joint annual Seeds for the Future send-off ceremony for ten tertiary students, who are departing on an ICT study trip to Huawei in China.
The programme is aimed at popularising communications technologies and knowledge, developing ICT professionals and increasing education opportunities.
The Seeds for the Future SA programme is an ongoing partnership started in 2016 with the DTPS, and supported by the Chinese Embassy.
“Connectivity is the key driver for inclusive, sustainable social and economic development; and one of the key challenges facing the ICT sector in South Africa and many other countries, is the need for a large pool of skilled ICT professionals,” said Huawei Chief Executive Officer, Spawn Fan.
Fan added that it was the duty of all ICT players from government to the private sector to ensure that all South Africans benefited from the opportunities that connectivity brings.
He explained that supporting skills development is one of Huawei’s key priorities for ‘Building a Better Connected South Africa.’
Speaking to the ten participating students, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, highlighted government’s commitment to preparing the youth for the jobs of the future.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change how we interact and how people access government services. This means that we need to align our education to this reality. We need to consider introducing training in coding at an early age in schooling,” Cwele said.
He said South Africa was preparing for this future in partnership with business, organised labour and other social partners.
The partnership between DTPS and Huawei is the implementation of the Cooperation Contract of 2016 which is aimed at capacity building, joint Innovation and Experience Centre and skills development. Lin Songtian, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, wished the students well on their study trip.
“In China, if you don’t know how to use a mobile phone or you don’t have one, life will be difficult. Everything is now done on the phone, from shopping to banking and paying for your bills,” he said.
The envoy said in China, this digitisation took place within a short period of time.
“It is what the future will be here too soon and you need to be prepared,” Songtian said.
– CAJ News