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

Video

Interview: Qualcomm execs on mentorship for African startups

Qualcomm Technology VP for Engineering, Sudeepto Roy, and Elizabeth Migwalla, VP for Government Affairs, join Connecting Africa for a video interview about Qualcomm's Make in Africa Mentorship Program.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Pan-African fintech KamaPay

This month's hot startup is pan-African fintech KamaPay, which helps individuals and businesses make cross-border payments on the continent.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

London Tech Week
June 13-16, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE
Cybertech Africa 2023
August 1-2, 2023
Kigali Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up