Anyone who keeps an eye on Kenya’s ICT landscape is aware that Chinese corporations have managed to diversify their presence in the country. You can deduce this by the sheer number of information and communication hardware as well as infrastructure with ties to Chinese companies, a feat that can be attributed to Kenya’s partnership with the Asia’s most populous country.
Today, the ICT Authority has renewed an MOU with one of China’s top technology companies, Huawei Technologies. This partnership was launched back in 2014, and purposes to spur Kenya’s digital transformation and provide state-of-the-art ICT skills in the country. Key officials, including ICT Authority CEO Robert Mugo, Principal Secretary for ICT Eng. Victor Kyalo and Huawei Kenya’s Director for Contract and Commercial Fulfillment Mr. Tony Liu officiated the signing of this arrangement.
“Huawei is keen on partnering with the government and other agencies on ICT projects that will go a long way in boosting the country’s economy. For us the signing of this MoU is proof of our continued commitment towards growing the ICT sector in Kenya”, said Mr. Frank Zhou, Huawei’s Deputy CEO
Since the establishment of this agreement, Huawei has been sending Kenyan students to China for a 2-month internship, where they are imparted with modern skills in engineering, IT and leadership. This year’s installment will see 9 students (6 girls and 3 boys) head over to Shenzhen, China for the same program. Also, talks are underway to see if Huawei will increase that number to 15 or more.
The same MoU has seen Huawei offer more than 100 internships for Kenyan students at Huawei headquarters that include the aforementioned sponsorships. Another project that was born from the 2014 MoU with ICT authority is referred to as Seeds of the Future where the technology corporation imparts ICT skills and industrial experience to ICT students. The aim of the project is to see they have all it takes to excel in the job market. To complement these activities, the Kenyan government launched initiatives such as the Presidential Digital Talent Program in partnership with the private sector and ICT Authority to transform ICT utilization for effective service delivery. Similar to Huawei’s partnership, the Digital Talent Program teamed up with corporations such as Oracle and Microsoft to train fresh university graduates from private and public institutions.
“In the last two years, the government has created an ecosystem with ICT opportunities for young people through programs Seeds for the Future and the Presidential Digital Talent Programme; and it is up to the young people to take this up for their benefit”, said ICT PS Victor Kyalo.
This year’s MoU will concentrate on ICT research and innovation, as well as sharing of ICT best practices. Furthermore, it will focus on development of ICT infrastructure that happens to be Huawei’s forte, and e-government services. As mentioned, Huawei’s local presence is deep as it is involved in digital transformation of key ministries such as Education, Health, Security and Transport, to mention a few.