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Digital Inclusion

Ericsson, Smart Africa train African policymakers in digital skills

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Swedish equipment maker Ericsson and Smart Africa Digital Academy have collaborated to enhance critical digital skills of senior public sector officials across Africa.

One hundred policymakers and regulators across 19 African countries attended virtual workshops in emerging technologies over a three-month period.

The upskilling focused on emerging technologies to promote and boost digital transformation across Africa through education and capacity building.

Ericsson said the collaboration ran from November 2022 to January 2023 and aimed to enhance digital skills of a target group of senior officials from ministries and regulatory authorities in charge of information and communications technology (ICT) by providing access to Ericsson's global skills program, Ericsson Educate.

"We are happy to see the fruitful outcome of our collaboration with Smart Africa Digital Academy within such a short time period. Equipped with a deeper understanding on how existing and emerging technologies work and how these can be best used, the policymakers and regulators can enable the digital transformation of the continent by creating the best conditions for citizens, consumers, and businesses," said Fida Kibbi, VP and head of marketing, communications, sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

In addition to access to digital skills content, the Ericsson Educate program helped deliver a series of webinars led by 27 subject matter experts from Ericsson.

The curated virtual workshops covered topics related to emerging technologies related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) such as 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT), network security, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is fueled by innovation and knowledge. Technology offers a great opportunity for Africa to embrace new opportunities to boost digital transformation and contribute to the global economy. We are glad to see our participants benefiting greatly from our collaboration with Ericsson, and we are looking forward to witnessing the positive advancements that will be brought about," added Thelma Quaye, director of infrastructure, skills and empowerment at Smart Africa.

Skills development key for African growth

Digital skills are of critical importance in Africa and a number of other programs are also underway on the continent.

In January 2023, Nokia and UNICEF launched a digital education and training project for teachers and students in underserved areas in Senegal, West Africa.

Meanwhile, Smart Africa Digital Academy has been rolling out its digital skills development initiative across Africa, with programs in Benin, Rwanda, Ghana and The Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).

In September 2022, it launched the Smart Africa Digital Academy in Côte d'Ivoire.

Lacina Kone, Smart Africa's director general and CEO, speaking at the Smart Africa Digital Academy launch event in Cote d'Ivoire.  (Source: Smart Africa)
Lacina Koné, Smart Africa's director general and CEO, speaking at the Smart Africa Digital Academy launch event in Côte d'Ivoire.
(Source: Smart Africa)

"There's increasing recognition among nations of the role of digital technologies in transforming the socio-economic situation and the determination to adopt them is palpable," said Lacina Koné, Smart Africa's director general and CEO at the Côte d'Ivoire launch event.

There are also plans for additional academies to be rolled out in Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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*Top image source: Image by pch.vector on Freepik.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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