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Huawei has announced the launch of its Middle East ICT Skill Competition 2017. Aimed at universities and students, the program seeks to unearth and nurture the region's finest ICT talent. In line with Huawei's mandate to support governments' digitization strategies, national visions and plans for growth of critical industries, the competition will foster development for the next generation responsible for driving the digital transformation. Ten countries in the region are expected to participate, with registration open till October 10.

In the Middle East, the competition is a critical initiative for enhancing the quality of future ICT professionals, a key pillar in national agendas of building knowledge-based economies. The competition increases national ICT competitiveness, supporting local communities across the Middle East. The generation of students involved is expected to lead the Middle East's ICT industry into the future by embracing the digital transformation. The ICT Skill Competition is specifically designed to prepare this generation for such a responsibility.

Close to 80 of the region's best universities have registered for the competition. The top 13 most skilled teams will be selected to travel  to Huawei's home in Shenzhen, China, where the final stage of the competition will take place between 11 and 15 December. This will be the last step in an arduous journey-competitors registered at the event starting from June, and those who make it to the final stage will already have passed through two rounds of highly selective examinations at the local and national level. In the past, the competition has attracted top talent globally, with competitors hailing from countries ranging from the Netherlands to Malaysia to Pakistan.

Not only will the winners of the competition receive certificates, trophies, and prizes, they will also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to China and gain insider access to a top global ICT company. Huawei will grant the winners an exclusive fully paid trip to the company's international headquarters in Shenzhen and the chance to meet with the brand's leadership. They will gain unrivaled exposure to Huawei's expertise in telecommunications, enterprise, and consumer business, not to mention a priceless cultural experience and knowledge exchange.

The competition is part of Huawei's longstanding effort to have a positive impact on the community in the Middle East. Huawei has already implemented a Seeds for the Future program to offer training and internships to promising students across the region. The ITC Skill Competition offers students additional opportunities to gain valuable experience in the industry. Participants will work in a real laboratory, and tackle some of the industry's most complex challenges. The competition material is based on advanced IP and IT material, and tests competitors on their knowledge of cloud computing, switching, routing, and network security. It is a unique opportunity for students to test their abilities in ICT's most cutting edge fields.

The ICT Skill Competition works in partnership with local government authorities to ensure Huawei is doing all it can, together with leading universities, to nurture local ICT talent, in order to support and grow the future leaders of the industry. As one of the world's leading innovators, the promotion of innovation and creativity among ICT students is essential to Huawei.

"Knowledge transfer and nurturing future ICT talent has always been a core pillar of the Huawei way, and we are thrilled to be able to launch the ICT Skill Competition for that exact reason. The future of ICT progress lays in the hands of our students, and by developing platforms and programs that allow them to grow and mature into experts, we can better equip the next generation of technology leaders," said Charles Yang, Huawei ME president.

"We are committed to supporting governments in the region as they work towards achieving their national targets. We do this by fostering lasting relationships with all levels of society, from business leaders to students. The ICT Skill Competition allows us to work closely with the future champions of industry, using the Huawei way to grow a generation that will drive the digital transformation forward," Charles added.

In addition to awarding the top US$ 30,000 cash prize to the most outstanding team, the next two teams will claim second place and three teams will be awarded third place. The next seven teams will receive Excellence Prizes, while 6 tutors and 5 academies will also be recognized with the Excellent Tutor and Best Academy Prizes.