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At the just ended Huawei ICT Competition regional finals held in South Africa, the all-girls team from Ghana placed 2nd amongst the 6 teams that contested for the competition under the Innovation track.

The girls, Esther Aboagyewaa Abankwa, Martha Esinam Kekele Demanya and Gladys Obuobi who are final year students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology came second with their AI project topic, “WaterBits” – An Artificial Intelligence-Based Water Quality Predictor, which automatically classifies the quality of water and determines its safety for drinking.

Speaking on their project, “WaterBits”, the team lead, Gladys Obuobi mentioned that, statistics from the United Nations (UN) report indicate that about 1.5 million people living at rural communities die each year from contaminated water-driven diseases hence their Artificial Intelligence solution, designed to help address the issue.

The Dean for Quality Assurance and Planning Unit at KNUST, Professor Jerry John Kponyo, praised the girls for making it to the global finals and making their institution proud. He assured them of KNUSTs unflinching support in the quest to ensure that the team make Ghana proud at the Global finals. He further encouraged the team to believe in themselves and work harder towards the winning of the ultimate prize.

“Your innovation has the potential to impact a lot of lives in the rural communities and that should be your motivation,” he said. He commended Huawei for giving the ladies the opportunity to explore their potentials and prove themselves through the Huawei Seeds for the Future Women in Tech Initiative.

Mrs. Jenny Zhou, Director for Public and Government Affairs at Huawei Ghana also commended the ladies for being the only girls’ team to make it to the global finals. She encouraged them to put in more effort to make Ghana proud at the global finals.

“Coming this far means you are very capable and can do better if more effort is put into it. Personally, I am glad you are projecting Ghana as the only team with ladies competing at the global finals. I believe you have been well connected through this program and this will go a long way to shape your career path.” She said.

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Prof. Lidia Arthur Brito, the UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, commended Huawei for building the capacity and skills of young talents in the Sub region, by giving them the opportunity to be a part of the digital world.

“Technologies can indeed empower people, commodities, countries and continents but technologies can also discriminate and leave people out of this development. By raising the capacity and skills of young talents in different sphere, I say this is immensely appreciated.”

According to her, participation of women in ICT is very low, however, she is glad more women are being trained by Huawei in various technologies like AI. She congratulated the various academic institutions for supporting Huawei to make the ICT Competition inclusive to all.

This year, 15 000 students from over 200 universities and colleges from Sub-Saharan Africa participated in the 2021-2022 Huawei ICT Competition. From the 48 competing teams, Nigerian and Kenyan teams won first prize in the regional final. Teams from Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania claimed second prize.

The South African team which reached the top ten of the 2021 Huawei Global Tech4Good Competition for designing an intrusion detection system that uses wireless and cloud technologies to curb rhino poaching was honored with a Top Performance Prize. 

Over the past 5 years, 80 000 university students from Africa registered for the competition, and more than 20 teams entered the global finals. 

The Huawei ICT competition has grown into the biggest competition of its kind in Africa and across the globe. It offers a global stage for students to showcase and practice their ICT knowledge and skills.

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