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A Huawei logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, Aug 27, 2021

ABUJA - Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei says it wants to train up to 3 million African youths to work with cutting-edge digital technology such as artificial intelligence. Already, Nigerian students who took part in a Huawei-sponsored information and communications technology (ICT) competition say the benefits, including possible job placements with the company, are enormous. But experts warn there could be potential negative impacts of China's growing tech influence in Africa.

Computer engineering finalist Muhammad Maihaja is set to graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria's Kaduna state in November.

In 2019, he was part of a team of six from the school who represented Nigeria at the global Huawei ICT competition in Shenzhen, China, where they finished in third place.

Huawei introduced the competition to Africa in 2014 to identify and nurture highly skilled ICT professionals — what the company says is part of its expanding talent search in Africa's tech sector that has benefited some 2,000 African students like Maihaja.

"We have been exposed to devices and technologies we've never experienced before. As normal university students, we would not have experienced what we did experience in the competition. So, I'll say ... this has made me much more ICT inclined, so to say," Maihaja said.

The competition evaluates students' competence in network and cloud technology. Maihaja and his team's success in 2019 was a rare achievement for an African team, let alone a first-time participant.

The feat inspired many other students like Hamza Atabor who tried out for the next edition in 2020. He and the other Nigerian students this time won the competition.

"I was inspired by, you know, when they talked about their stories, how they won the competition, and also when they were given their prizes and everything. I just felt, OK, this is something to actually make a sacrifice for," Atabor said.

Huawei office in Voorburg Image source: wikimediawikimedia

Students like Maihaja and Atabor are meeting Huawei's set objective, but critics say the company is only a fragment of China's fast-paced dominance in Africa's technology landscape.

Huawei reportedly accounts for more than 70% of the continent's telecommunications network.

Mohammed Bashir Muazu, a professor of computer engineering at Ahmadu Bello University, says it's no surprise China is gaining traction in Africa.

"Seeing the level of technological developments in China, I think what is actually happening is inevitable," Muazu said.

Concerns about China's presence in Africa grew in 2019 after U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, reported that Huawei had helped Ugandan and Zambian authorities spy on political opponents.

Huawei denied the accusations and declined an interview on the matter.

But ICT expert Samuel Adekola says China could use its competitive advantage for selfish gains.

"It's really dangerous. I cannot quantify how much they could do, but whoever has data, you can do a lot of things. You have a lot of information about a group of people, the nation," Adekola said.

As long as China continues to invest in Africa, students like Maihaja and Atabor will learn valuable skills, even though experts say Africa may have to pay a price for relying too heavily on foreign companies. (VOA/RN)

Keywords: Huawei, China, Technology, Africa


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Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

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There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

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Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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