China's ambassador predicts more investments, as Huawei sends 10 students away

BY HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 25, 2019

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China's Ambassador to Jamaica Tian Qi has predicted far more investment in the local economy by his country, as one of the Asian giant's companies, Huawei, sends 10 Jamaican students off to learn improved technological procedures.

Ambassador Qi in giving words of advice to the tertiary awardees of the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, during an event put on by technology giant Huawei last Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in St Andrew, said that China was the largest investor in Jamaica, with Chinese companies pumping more than US$2 billion into the economy while creating over 10,000 jobs in the process.

He told the function, dubbed Huawei 'Seeds for the Future 2019' departure ceremony that there were more than 20 Chinese companies operating in Jamaica and insisted that the number would increase.

“This year should be a very great year of friendship between Jamaica and China,” the senior envoy maintained, adding that “with cooperation of China, Jamaica will achieve greater success.

“I have been here one year and five months and I can say from the bottom of my heart that I live in Jamaica. I hope you will bring back knowledge, friendship, if not Chinese boyfriends and girlfriends,” he suggested to sustained laughter from the audience comprising all 10 awardees, their relatives, UWI and UTech representatives, well-wishers, Huawei officials, and Jamaica Government personnel.

“In China we believe in faith. You will be special envoys of friendship between the two countries. Today you are the seed, tomorrow you will be the flower and fruit for Jamaica — the beautiful country of water and wood,” Ambassador Qi stated.

Huawei's third annual Seeds for the Future programme will see the 10 students — five women from UTech and five men from UWI — visiting China to learn technological procedures the Huawei way, the highlight of which will be a one-week work experience stint at the company's headquarters in Shenzhern, and another week spent in the Chinese capital of Beijing. The trip runs from September 4 to 21.

The Seeds for the Future programme was introduced by Huawei in 2008, which the company said was designed to “expand the awareness and understanding of students regarding the telecommunications sector, region-building and the digital contingent.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams in endorsing the programme, commended Huawei on its commitment to help advance Jamaica's technology.

“I'm particularly pleased with the number of women who will be on this programme,” she said. “Our young people must not be caught unprepared for the digital age. It is critical that we empower and leverage the power of ICT for them to compete in the digital world,” she went on, emphasising that the Government was spending $200 million to finance ICT projects this fiscal year.

“Learn as much as you can in China,” she implored the awardees. “China is way out there in ICT. We want you to come back with your brains on fire for the things you can do in Jamaica. Immerse yourself in this experience. You are going to experience something you have never experienced before,” she insisted.

Country manager, Huawei Technologies Jamaica, Allen Chen traced the history of the programme, revealing that it had grown beyond expectations.

“We keep providing opportunities for young talent in the countries that we operate,” he said.

Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the UWI, Professor Michael Taylor, and UTech's Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, Professor Nilza Aples also challenged the awardees to make the most of the opportunity to visit China.

The students, university officials said, were chosen after a “rigorous selection process.”

Executive account manager at Huawei Neil Grant said that the main objective of the programme was to “create new opportunities for outstanding students. We hope to develop local ICT talent in the country, enhance knowledge transfer, promote a greater understanding of the telecoms sector and encourage participation in a digital community through integration,” Grant said.

The company said that it selects top college students to go on study trips to China where the course programme focuses on ICT expertise and experience in managing a multinational with young ICT professionals and helps fuel the development of local ICT industries.


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