50 student innovators drawn from provinces of Zambia have been awarded US$1000 each for their outstanding digital innovations, under the Hakainde Hichilema Innovation fund (HHIF). The HHIF is a component of Huawei-sponsored Digital Innovation Leadership talent program, under the patronage of President Hakainde Hichilema, and it seeks to encourage home grown ICT innovations from students across institutions of higher learning.
Speaking at the award ceremony at State House yesterday, President Hakainde Hichilema commended Huawei for fulfilling its pledge, adding that he had a discussion with Huawei concerning the innovation program last year in 2022.
“I wish to thank Huawei for fulfilling their pledge, we were in the cabinet room last year when this ideas was mooted and today we are here to award prizes and so thank you Huawei technologies for this initiative” The President said.
Mr. Hichilema said he was delighted to have the first 50 recipients of the HHIF and that his heart was beaming with joy at the fact history had been written. The President further expressed his happiness at the amazing works from young people that were being awarded, and urged them to continue providing leadership in different spheres of life. Mr. Hichilema said his Government is determined to take the nation forward using innovation across all sectors and that the government’s agenda was to grow Zambia into middle prosperous income status.
“There is no doubt that the role of innovation is critical to our agenda as a nation to achieve our desired middle prosperous income status”.
Huawei Vice President for Southern Region Yang Chen said Huawei will continue supporting Zambia in terms of ICT’s and support its realizing of the 8th National Development Plan. He added that Huawei is fulfilling its commitments, to train over 5000 students and 50 instructors by the year 2025. He added that a Digital Innovation Hub will also be officially launched by the third quarter of 2023 as part of strategy to accelerate ICT innovations.
Mr. Yang explained that Huawe will make ICT talent cultivation among its top priorities and it will continue investing in the digital talent program. He thanked the Ministry of Technology and Science, Ministry of Education and the President for the continued support.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui said China will continue to support the efforts that the new dawn government is making in promoting technological innovations and that the HHIF is a testament. Mr. Du explained that the China-Zambia all-weather, all dimensional relationship extends beyond traditional sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and infrastructure but that Chinese enterprises such as Huawei continue to make crucial contributions to technological cooperation between Zambia and China.
Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati said the Ministry will ensure scaling up the 50 innovations identified so far and that the completion of the digital hub will result to students having fully baked innovations. He added that development will only happen if innovations are translated into inputs culminating into jobs and economic growth.
About the HHIF and the Digital Leadership Program
In March last year, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Technology and Science and Huawei signed a MoU to establish the first ever national Digital Innovation Hub in Lusaka comprising of a hackathon department as well. Under this program, Huawei seeks to train over 5000 local ICT students in the next 5 years through an innovation fund now known as HHIF with government as an implementer.The aim of this program is to position and support young people to make their brilliant business ideas come true, through providing resources to build a sustainable model that encompasses talent training and job creation at the same time. The 50 students are phase 1 of the innovation fund. The hub is integral to this program and upon completion, the hub will usher Zambia into a new digital entrepreneurship era. When youths are helped to incubate their ICT solutions, they may become digital entrepreneurs and that is a solid foundation to form a stronger tech savvy nation full of self-employed people.
Source: Huawei Zambia