International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - Regional Office for Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2016, April 28
ITU AUC, UN Agencies Celebrate Girls In ICT in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Girls in ICT Initiative: expanding horizons, changing attitudes
Addis Ababa, 2 May 2016 – ITU, AUC, UN Women, UNDP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa celebrated Girls in ICT Day on the 28 April 2016 at the Africa Union Commission Headquarters with 200 high school Girls from public, private and International schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The event was organized under a collaborative effort between the Regional Office for Africa of the ITU and the AUC, UN Women, UNDP and UNECA with Huawei Company of Ethiopia being the main sponsor of the event.
200 high schools Girls accompanied by the IT teachers spent the working Day at the premises of the AUC where they were exposed to statistics in the ICT industry and words of encouragement to join the sector as a future career. The Girls had access to computers connected to the internet. They also engaged in a panel discussion with four women with ICT careers two of them coming from Facebook, A senior Director from Ethiotelecom and a young woman innovator who has developed an App to help with Nutrition. The four Ladies were the following:
Kunbi Adeyemo a Diversity Programs Manager at Facebook. She is Chapter Leader for the Lean In Women in Computer Science and Engineering chapter and holds both a Bachelor's degree from Morgan State University and a Master's Degree from Cornell University, both in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Akua Gyekye is Facebook's Public Policy Manager for Africa. Akua holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law and Society, International Relations and Spanish from American University, a Law Degree from Cambridge University in England and a Masters of Laws in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School.
Mekdes Mintesnot Abayneh is Chief Information Officer at Ethio-telecom leading the Information System division, Telecom Expansion Project in Information System domain which spans complex BSS, OSS, Security and others. She has served the company at different managerial positions in Information System domain among few are as Billing and Customer Care Division Manager, D/Data Support Manager, Operation Manager for the last 30 years. She holds a BSC Degree in Management Information Systems.
Haimanot Ambesaw is an entrepreneur and innovator. She created an app that informs users on daily recommended nutritional intake depending on a user's age and weight. With this app, she targets parents with young children but also anyone interested in adopting healthy eating habits. She has a Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The High School Girls also had the chance to question the four Ladies.
Two Ethiopian Airline Pilot Students attended the ceremony which created high curiosity among the young girls and led to a lot of questions from the Girls on their experience in pursuing such 'unconventional career for women' and how ICTs is helping them do their training.
During the official opening ceremony coordinated by Marcelino Tayob the Senior Adviser of the Regional Office for Africa of the ITU, the Girls listened to policy statements from high ranking officials present at the event. The Regional Director for ITU Regional Office for Africa welcomed the Girls to the event and said
"ITU estimates a skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the Information and communication technology (ICT) sector within the next five years adding that, Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will not only be well-placed for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. Girls in ICT Day remind us that ICTs help to improve the lives of people everywhere and especially in Africa – through better health care, better environmental management, better communications, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn," he said adding that the technology has been instrumental in creating job opportunities to African youths''.
He also thanked the united republic of Tanzania by complimenting the Ambassador of Tanzania to Ethiopia
"Your Excellency Tanzanian Ambassador Naimi Aziz, I would like you to convey my regards to your government for its efforts in promoting ICT education for girls as witnessed by four girls who travelled all the way from Tanzania to join us in this auspicious occasion. The girls, excelled in ICT competition organized by ITU," he said praising the girls for successful creating useful IT applications that could be used for provision of social services.
The State Minister of ICT of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia also addresses the girls thanking ITU for this important initiative of Girls in ICT. She said her Government will also leave no stone unturned in its efforts to develop the ICT sector in Ethiopia. She thanked the Chief Sponsor of the Day, Huawei Ethiopia by stating
"I am happy to see that Huawei as a major vendor in Ethiopian market has never forgotten to fulfill its social responsibility. Huawei is not only providing ICT solutions but also opportunities for our future generation. For example, with a computer or mobile phone connected to internet, Ethiopian students can search for millions of free learning materials in different languages, follow online virtual classes from the top universities in China, America and European countries, and actually have equal access to knowledge as those kids from developed countries. This is the true value that ICT brings to us. I wish that with the support from Huawei and access of endless knowledge online, the excellent students here can reach their potentials and be granted with a brighter future."
The statements were closed by that of the Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure of the AUC who delivered on her own behalf and on behalf of the AUC Chairperson Dr Zuma who was scheduled to speak at the occasion but could not attend due to an emergency elsewhere that required her attention. The Commissioner expressed her pleasure of once again being present for this very important event and encouraged the young girls to seize the opportunity to ask questions about the ICT sector and to benefit from the experiences of the four inspirational Women who spoke to them in the panel discussion. The Commissioner was joined by four Minister from Africa in the event and together these dignitaries made the presentation of the prizes of Five Min IPad donated by ITU , and 19 T-7 Smartphones donated by Huawei Ethiopia and two pieces of luggage to the winning girls . A T-7 Smart phone was also presented to the winner of the week long SMS competition that was provided by Hikma PLC a local Company and a partner of Ethio-telecom on their 8085 short code platform.
The Event was officially closed by Marcelino Tayob, Senior Adviser of the Regional Office for Africa of the ITU. He thanked all who has contributed to make the day a success and looked forward to receiving Girls form Addis Ababa and elsewhere within the Continent at the celebrations of the 2017 Girls in ICT Day.
For more information, please contact:
Regional Office for Africa
+251 11 551 4855
+251 11 551 7299
Telecommunication Development Bureau
+41 22 730 5317
+41 79 808 6065