Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

IBM Aims to Fill Digital Skills Gap With $70M Africa Investment

Article Image
IBM has announced it will be investing $70 million to help advance digital, cloud and IT training in Africa.

"IBM Digital - Nation Africa" is intended to target 25 million young Africans over the next five years, in a bid to boost digital competence and help bring forward a new generation of tech natives across the continent, thus nurturing innovation and boosting the digital economy.

The initiative forms part of a global effort from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to help fill a void in digital skill sets, sought-after skills that do not necessarily require three or four years in university and a technical degree. Rather, it wants to cultivate data scientists as well as AI, cyber security and cloud experts. IBM used a pyramid metaphor to help explain its objective.

"For the youth of Africa to be able to benefit from a cognitive future, there needs to be a much higher level of digital literacy," the company said. "At the top of the skills pyramid are developers, who need to know how to create solutions that can leverage the power of cognitive, and entrepreneurs who are aware of the potential. IBM Digital - Nation Africa is designed to help raise overall digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers able to tap into cognitive engines and enable entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs grow businesses around new solutions."

IBM Bluemix will be the platform of choice for delivering a free, online learning environment with training available for programs ranging from basic IT literacy to more desirable skills, including digital privacy and cyber protection. Furthermore, more advanced participants will later be able to look into career-oriented skills like coding, programming and data science -- all while hoping to improve entrepreneurial skills.

The scheme is targeting 25 million young people, of the estimated 200 million people across Africa aged between 15 and 24 -- roughly 12.5%.

IBM is investing $70 million to train 25 million young Africans with digital skills.
IBM is investing $70 million to train 25 million young Africans with digital skills.

"IBM sees effective, high-quality IT education as a key driver of economic vitality in Africa. Through access to open standards, best practices, IBM tools, and course materials, the broad scope of this initiative will enable vital skills development," said Hamilton Ratshefola, country general manager for IBM South Africa. "In order to find solutions to Africa’s challenges, industries across the spectrum need to enable the existing and future workforce to perform at the forefront of technologies such as cognitive and cloud computing. This will be the key to spurring economic growth."

The initiative -- supported by the United Nations Development Program -- will be targeted for early launches in IBM's South African, Kenyan, Nigerian, Moroccan and Egyptian offices, giving it a well-spread launch ahead of future expansion.

— Tim Skinner, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: SA's FlexClub

South African startup FlexClub has launched a managed marketplace that helps independent drivers on digital platforms become vehicle owners.

Story

Econet and X's Project Taara join forces to connect Africa

Econet Group and Google X's Project Taara are teaming up to deploy new high-speed Internet technology to communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

More Innovation hub

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Latest video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Onica Makwakwa on closing the digital gender gap

The Alliance for Affordable Internet's head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa, shares her views on how to narrow the digital gender gap and the challenges keeping women offline on the continent.

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Tunde Fafunwa on how the ACIP is fighting COVID-19

Tunde Fafunwa from the UN Economic Commission for Africa explains how the Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) is helping Africa's battle against COVID-19.

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Temidayo Oniosun on Africa's space and satellite industry

Space in Africa founder, Temidayo Oniosun, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities in the African space and satellite industry.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

SD-WAN and satellite – how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

Africa's mobile operators need better roaming monetization for growth
By Damion Rose, product manager for Mobile Signaling and Roaming Solutions at BICS

How Africa's operators are driving socio-economic development
By Clémentine Fournier, VP Sales Africa at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Green ICT Forum
December 2, 2020
Virtual Event
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

AfricaCom 2020 Digital Symposium - Day 2

Session One

Mobile Money 2.0: the Bright Future of Mobile Financial Service Innovation
Date: 08/20/20 @ 11:00 A.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.

  • From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
  • Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
  • MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
  • Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
  • The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms

12:15 P.M. - 12:30 P.M. BREAK

Session Two

Connecting the Next Billion: Strategies for Getting Africa On-Grid
Date 08/20/20 @ 12:30 P.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.

  • Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
  • Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
  • Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
  • Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent


More Webinars

Infographics

Safaricom Spark Fund Portfolio

Infographics archive

Slideshows

AfricaCom 2019 Preview

Slideshow archive

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up