By Aduragbemi Omiyale
More than 600 students drawn from Nigeria and other African countries have been trailed in emerging ICT technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and AI, helping them get job-ready for the digital economy era.
The ICT training was facilitated by Huawei through one of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives known as Seeds for the Future launched in 2008.
The global programme aims to help nurture local talent, promote knowledge transfer, increase people’s understanding and interest in the ICT industry, and encourage countries and regions to participate in digital community building.
By 2021, the scheme has been implemented in 131 countries and territories worldwide, with nearly 9,000 students participating.
Since 2014, the program has been held in sub-Saharan African countries and so far, 25 countries in Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, have participated in the training, which has so far benefitted more than 1,000 students.
In this year’s training, Huawei has paid more attention to bridging the gender divide in science and technology training. More than one-third of the total number of Seeds candidates were women.
According to the Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2020 report, released by the Global Association for Mobile Telecommunications Systems, sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world, and African countries have entered a rapid development of the digital economy era. In this process, ICT technologies are an important engine that drives countries’ development, and mastering ICT technologies is the engine’s key.
Through programs such as Seeds for the Future, Huawei cultivates ICT knowledge and skills for local youth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program took place via online learning and in-person where possible.
Students were offered the flexibility to access several ICT courses online at their own pace. They were invited to participate in science and technology roundtables and interact with youth around the world in real-time. Through 5G live broadcasts, students were able to join guided tours of Huawei exhibition halls and historic cultural sites in China.
Meanwhile, under the guidance of professional mentors from Huawei’s Tech4Good program, they were encouraged to design solutions to solve developmental challenges facing each of their countries and realize the value of the practical application of the theory they had learned.
In Ghana, nine ICT training sessions were held in junior high schools, senior high schools and universities. Currently, the ICT training program is still underway. In Madagascar, it provided basic digital skills and training to more than 30 women.
Governments in sub-Saharan Africa have also given high interest to the project. The South African government has included a series of talent development initiatives, including Seeds for the Future, in its national digital economy master plan.
The heads of state of Uganda, Mauritius, and Malawi have highly praised Huawei’s talent development plan. The President of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopun said Huawei’s project would help build a national ICT talent team, strengthen youth employment capabilities, and support the National Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategic Plan.
Dambatta Decries Impact of Vandalism on Telecom Industry
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Mr Garba Umar Dambatta, has lamented the impact of vandalism on the nation’s telecommunications industry.
Mr Dambatta said the scourge is having negative impacts on Nigeria’s economy and called on Nigerians to ensure adequate protection of telecommunications infrastructure spread across the 36 states of the federation.
He made the call during the Telecom Consumer Village Square Dialogue held at the School of Basic Midwifery, Dambatta, Kano State.
The industry regulatory agency boss, who was represented at the event by Mr Bako Wakili, underscored the need for the public to allow installation of equipment and maintenance/repairs on sites by Technical Staff of Service providers for quality Telecoms service delivery.
“There is the need for the public to guard against destruction of Telecoms infrastructure, through prompt notification of service providers on any ongoing road construction activities by companies or government agencies to avoid service disruption or interference in service,” he said.
Mr Dambatta added that “vandalization of telecom infrastructure discourages investors from investing in Nigeria should their infrastructures be continuously vandalized or stolen.”
“It will be good for the people to report cases of infrastructure vandalism to the nearest Law Enforcement Agents like the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“Share adequate information to your family, friends, neighbours and in accordance with the information and materials provided by the NCC. Let’s work with Law Enforcement Authorities on the protection of Telecom Infrastructure in your community,” he said.
According to him, “protection of Telecom Infrastructure is a collective responsibility. protecting the infrastructure means we are protecting every service offered on the network—-(your money, jobs, children’s future and your community.
“Let us work together to protect our telecoms infrastructure for better Quality of Service (QoS) and improved Quality of Experience.
“It is important that we all protect telecommunication infrastructure in our community because is a Critical National Asset that supports a lot of essential services, and ensures a better quality of service delivery and seamless customer experience.”
MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.
According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.
He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.
MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.
“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.
“With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.
“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.
The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.
Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.
Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.
Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”
It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.
At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.
She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.
Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.
“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.
“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.
“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.
In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.
According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.
“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.
ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.
The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.
Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.
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