Malawi's aspirations of building a digital economy focusing on the youth has gotten a timely boost courtesy of global ICT giant Huawei Technologies.
The Chinese conglomerate, under its 'Seeds of the Future' programme, has this year sponsored 100 students from various universities across Malawi to a week-long bootcamp at Crossroads Hotel in the Capital, Lilongwe.
The figure this year has doubled after the mobile tech company also sponsored 50 students to a similar camp last year.
The candidates are being drilled in several aspects of digital technology including the highly rated Artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, coding and database. They graduate on Friday this week.
Reacting to her admission into the camp, Felistus Kampala -a student at Malawi Institute of Management in the Capital Lilongwe- said she was thrilled to make the cut; which she added was a chance in a lifetime for her.
"It's actually thrilling, so to speak. I find the exposure we are getting from this boot camp in digital technology is just priceless.
"Meeting our colleagues from various universities not only adds gloss to it but has also created new channels of collaboration which we understand remains key to unlocking new grounds in digitalisation in Malawi. Thank you Huawei," she said.
Her colleague, Maxon Gomeka from the University of Malawi (formerly Chancellor College) said: "The mere thought that a whole technological giant in Huawei Technologies could spare their resources with which to train young people should be enough to tell how vital digitalisation is to the modern world.
"I can tell you that in Malawi, people, especially the youth have brilliant ideas in various aspects of science. What has been lacking though are opportunities through which such passion, ideas and digitech nous can be shown. I thank Huawei and its partners for the opportunity, which will go a long way in promoting science advancement in the country," Gomeka said.
Apart from MIM and Unima, the training camp also has attracted students from Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), National Centre for Information and Technology (Nacit), Mzuzu University, DMI St John Baptists University and Daeyaung University.
Speaking on Monday when he launched this year's event, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Long Zhoe said the Southern African country can quickly grow its socio-economic sector by making serious investments in digital technology.
"At the same time, no nation can go it alone. Collaboration remains key and this explains why China is, and will remain committed to help Malawi develop its digitalisation sector. The youth are key to this, hence the need to train them in relevant knowledge and skills," the Chinese envoy said.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Information and Technology Gospel Kazako concurred with Zhoe on the need to build the country's digitalisation to keep pace with the developed world around it.
Kazako revealed Malawi was developing a curriculum on digital studies targeting learners in both primary and secondary schools.
Huawei's Managing Director Gu Mu, who pledged continued support to Malawi in the sector, also hailed Malawi for its commitment to consolidate ICT development.
The 2022 'Seeds of the Future' programme comes just a few months after Huawei Technologies also commissioned Malawi's first ever data centre in the country's commercial capital of Blantyre.
When launching the facility, President Lazarus Chakwera called for concerted efforts to ensure the centre helps the country better manage and secure data, saying it is critical in decision making.