ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s tech startup incubator Iceaddis celebrated its 10 years anniversary together with global industrial giant Huawei with a launch of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) competition.
Ji Hui, Huawei Ethiopia Regional Vice President, said ICT talent has become key assets of Ethiopia’s economy as the country is currently at the dawn of a digital revolution.
“Huawei will tightly align with Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy and contribute to talent cultivation. The ICT competition is the manifestation of it.” Hui said at the launching event on Thursday.
State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign (PhD) and State Minister of Innovation and Technology, Ahmedin M. Ahmed (PhD) joined Iceaddis and Huawei officials to launch this contest for startups.
State Minister Eyob said the last ten years have been tough for the ICT ecosystem. But, he said, the next decade is going to be different and exciting for startups.
And the government is now ready more than ever after the East African nation granted a new telecom license for a global operator, he said, calling the move “an important step”.
‘Opportunity for Bright Minds’
The organizers said the 6th Global Huawei ICT Competition expects to give opportunities to the brightest brains and most innovative ideas among 1000 student participants.
The winner of the National Round will be awarded Huawei electronics including mobile phones, tablets and sports wearables.
This year’s event includes an innovation track to encourage students to gather in groups competing for new ideas and products.
They are required to register online and take courses to better prepare them for the competition, according to Huawei.
The winner from each track will team up and represent Ethiopia at the regional final and compete to win the ticket to the final and international competition to be held in China.
Govt’s vows support
The government pledges to support the eventual winners and other innovative startups in the ICT sector.
Ethiopia is working to establish a system which will positively respond to financial, legal, technical challenges that entrepreneurs face in the process of realizing their vision, said State Minister of Innovation Ahmedin.
“Innovators, entrepreneurs, and other actors within the innovation ecosystem are all on fire,” he said. “On behalf of my government and my ministry I assure you that we continue adding governmental support to the ecosystem as fuel to the fire”.
The Huawei ICT Competition is based on Huawei products and technologies, and targets to bring both knowledge and innovation in the field.
Before the launch of the annual competition, four panel discussions were held in a day-long event, including topics such as Role of Startup in Ethiopia, Enabling Environment, Investment Readiness, Emerging Tech – AI, Big Data, IoT.
At the end of the ceremony, Iceaddis inaugurated its new branch Icehawassa in collaboration with Huawei.
Huawei started its first ICT Academy in Ethiopia in 2018, and has expanded it into 38 universities with an objective to bring ICT knowledge to the students and instructors. It’s under this framework of ICT Academy that Huawei organized the ICT competition for young talents.