Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Ja can be Silicon Valley of the Caribbean - UTech scholar

Published:Tuesday | October 31, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Shorn Hector/Photographer From left, seated: Nadine Simms, senior education officer; Professor Ishenkumba Kawha, deputy principal, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona; Logan Shi, Huawei's country manager - Jamaica; and Dr Claire Sutherland, senior director, International and Institutional Linkages, the University of Technology (UTech). From left, standing: Seeds of the Future recipients Anthony Bryan, Camille Beckford and Loya Haughton from UWI; Amaila Loney, Yanika Miller and Oramde Harris from UTech at the Huawei signing of the Seeds for the Future Agreement with UWI and UTech at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston last Thursday.
Shorn Hector/Photographer Huawei Seeds for the Future recipient Oramde Harris, presented by Logan Shi, Huawei's Country Manager in Jamaica.
Shorn Hector/Photographer Huawei Seeds for the Future recipient, Loya Haughton, presented by Logan Shi, Huawei's Country Manager in Jamaica.

Jamaica has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean, with a knowledge, tech-savvy generation at its core to drive economic and industrial development, noted University of Technology (UTech) student, Orande Harris.

"My hope is for Jamaica to develop into a real serious type of Silicon Valley of sorts. We could be dubbed the Silicon Island. So by going to China and observing all they have to offer, I am hoping that I can understand what it takes to make the ICT (information and communications technology) industry in Jamaica a very productive one to improve the lives of the people," Harris said.

He is among a group of six Jamaican university students short listed for the Huawei's Seeds for the Future Programme. Included with Harris are Amaila Loney and Yanika Miller from UTech, while Anthony Bryan, Camille Beckford and Loya Haughton were selected from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

The students departed the island yesterday for China, where they will participate in a two-week work and cross-cultural trip facilitated by Huawei, one of the world's leading global information and ICT solutions providers.

"I am very excited to go to China and while I'm there, I am hoping to get more knowledge into the Internet

of things, which is a phenomenon. I also want to see how is it that China is propelling itself into the telecommunications market, which we can carry back to Jamaica," said Haughton.

"I believe that Jamaica does have the infrastructure to do it, such as the submarine fibre optic link. So with that in mind, I am looking out for those opportunities in what is my final year of university. It is my dream to use this information to help push my country towards achieving the 2030 vision."


The students are beneficiaries of the Huawei-funded "Seeds for the Future" programme, which had its official signing

of a Memorandum of Understanding between the tech company and the tertiary institutions last Friday at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, New Kingston.

"Huawei launched the programme to nurture professionals who are urgently needed to drive the development of the ICT industry in countries where we operate," explained Logan Shi, the company's country manager in Jamaica.

He said the company was looking to close the gap between knowledge learned in the classroom and the skills required by the industry,

while enhancing knowledge transfer.

The Seeds for the Future programme, which has benefited more than 20,000 students in 96 countries, is being launched in Jamaica and Guyana this year, with Trinidad and Tobago and Panama the two other Caribbean territories where it has already been implemented.