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Innovation Fund Launched to Harness Digital Skills
November 11, 2022 at 15:26

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Huawei Zambia has launched an Innovation Fund to harness digital skills and groom digital talent among the young people in Zambia. The innovation strengthens digital transformation through skills training and innovation. The Fund will benefit TEVET and university students through scholarships and access to an innovation hub to be housed at Government Complex.

The programme is for 4 years and has scholarships for students in TEVET institutions and public universities. Under the programme, 50 scholarships will be awarded to Zambians in digital skills and technology. The project will invest $200, 000  in scholarships to youths to accelerate Zambia's digital economic vision. The HH Innovation Fund (HHIF) is a step in actualizing the country's digital transformation agenda & developing critical skills for Zambia. Innovation & edu can change lives of youths by grooming talent. The Innovation Hub will an ICT park for Zambian talent.

Government has commended Chinese Technology giant, Huawei for its unique contribution and commitment to accelerate digital transformation in Zambia. Acting Minister of Education, Hon. Elijah Muchima said, “today’s world requires every learner to access quality education including digital skills”. Mr. Muchima made this statement this during the Launch Ceremony of an ICT innovation fund themed, “Hakainde Hichilema (HH) Innovation Fund” held in Lusaka. The Acting Minister emphasized that the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Technology and Science and Huawei were working together to promote digital skills among young people to cope with the fast changing digital world.

And Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Technology and Science, Eng. Dr. Brilliant Habenzu said he was happy to note that Huawei Technologies had already implemented a number of projects in the ICT and Education Sector in Zambia and that the HH Innovation Fund would accelerate Zambia ‘s digital transformation to unlock Zambia ‘s economic potential. Representing Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati, Dr Habeenzu said this partnership will promote Digital Skills and Digital Entrepreneurship among University and College Students. He commended Huawei Technologies for another initiative, which will see the setting up of a Digital/ICT Innovation Hub at the National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) to be housed at the New Government Complex.

Dr. Habeenzu said that the Hakainde Hichilema Innovation Fund will be implemented by National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) through a dedicated Technical Working Group. He emphasized that the fund was for undergraduate students from public and private universities, colleges and training institutes enrolled in ICT related programmes/courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (Steam) across the country. The Permanent Secretary indicated that under this programme, 50 deserving and talented students in ICT related programmes with high valued innovations will benefit from the fund each year for 4 years.

And speaking on behalf of Huawei Technologies Zambia Managing Director, Ms. Bette Chen, Director of Public Relations, Jane Zhang, said that apart from the HH Fund, Huawei was officially unveiling the plan for the National Innovation Hub which would be the biggest hub in Zambia once completed. Ms. Zhang said the Digital Innovation Hub under the 4-year Digital Innovation Leadership Program is a partnership between Huawei and the Government of Zambia which would feed into Government’s agenda of accelerating digital transformation through skills training and development.

And Huawei Vice President for Southern Region, Mr. Phil Li explained that Huawei continues to identify opportunities for partnerships in Zambia in the area of digital innovation. Mr. Li said the partnership between Government and Huawei will build eco-systems that are responsive to current ICT demands. Mr. Li mentioned that 8 months ago an MoU was signed at State House for the Digital Innovation Leadership Program between Huawei and the Government, through the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education. He said in the next four (4) years, Government and Huawei would identify and develop special and bankable talent that anchor Zambia’s digital transformation agenda, in order to accelerate both economic and social development through ICT’s.

In a Vote of Thanks, National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) Director, Dr. Chitundu Kasase said NTBC is implementing the Huawei sponsored Hakainde Hichilema (HH) Innovation Fund. This, he said was as a result of the MOU between the Huawei Technologies Zambia and the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Technology and Science, and Ministry of Education. Dr. Kasase said through the HH Innovation Fund young people will use smart applications for managing their businesses. Dr. Kasase emphasized that NTBC had already engaged universities, colleges, and trades training institutes regarding this fund. To this effect, a virtual information session was conducted to 53 institutions that were invited to participate. “The institutions of learning are expected to submit five (05) of their best innovations. during the evaluation exercise, 10 best innovations will be picked for consideration from each province. That translates to about 250 applications, from across Zambia. The e final selection is expected to come up with 5 best innovations from each province to be awarded $1, 000 to from this HH innovation fund to develop their ICT innovations,” he said.