- The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) ushered in a new era of economic disruption within Africa paving the way for digital transformation.
- With a World Bank report predicting that 55% of jobs in Kenya by 2030 will require digital skills, talent cultivation is a fundamental element to reaping the benefits of the digital economy.
Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru on Thursday launched UNESCO and Huawei's ICT Talent Cultivation for Kenya’s Digital Economy white paper.
The report not only provides research findings on the situation of Kenya’s ICT Talent development but also provides clear guidelines and recommendations to better improve the current programs in place by stakeholders including academia, industry and government.
With a World Bank report predicting that 55% of jobs in Kenya by 2030 will require digital skills, talent cultivation is a fundamental element to reaping the benefits of the digital economy.
Speaking during the launch, CS Joseph Mucheru lauded Huawei for their commitment and investment in developing the local ICT talent.
“This transformation requires a massive investment in the relevant skill set that will allow for the youth and the old alike to partake and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital economy and the gig economy," he added.
Dr Samuel Partey, Program Specialist, UNESCO highlighted the importance of partnerships in ICT talent development and noted UNESCO’s collaboration with the private sector.
“UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa believes in the power of ICT for good, and signed a milestone agreement with Huawei in 2019 to enhance digital skills to achieve SDGs, which is also an integral part to the program of equaling quality education in Huawei’s digital inclusion initiative TECH4ALL,” Dr Partey said.
The pandemic catapulted the digital economy across the world, and Kenya is no exception.
It is projected that by 2026, the digital economy will account for 25% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), up from 15.5 % in 2016.
While Africa expects the digital economy to contribute about 5.2% of its GDP by 2025, Kenya’s digital economy is expected to generate 9.24% of the total GDP by 2025, contributing to the projected 33% growth of the gig economy within the same period.
This, amongst other factors, demonstrates the significance of the digital economy to Kenya’s economic prospects and transformation.
“Building a framework in digital skills and leveraging the tremendous opportunities for technology will help the country to improve education quality and accessibility. I want to recognize UNESCO and Huawei for their efforts towards this," UoN Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama said
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) ushered in a new era of economic disruption within Africa paving the way for digital transformation. It has the potential to transform the social economic development of the entire continent.
To achieve this, the white paper recommends the development of an ICT talent cultivation strategy, the establishment of a national ICT skills database, the improvement of academia-industry-collaboration and support for upscaling private sector initiatives and certification programs.
It also recommends revisiting the process of ICT curricula review, and implementation of policy incentives for private sector participation in ICT talent cultivation.
Ms Fiona Pan, Deputy CEO, Huawei Kenya highlighted Huawei’s contribution and commitment to collaboration with academia in multiple ways.
“At Huawei we take pride in not only helping grow the ICT infrastructure within the country but also the local ICT talent. We have various initiatives to contribute meaningfully to Kenya’s ICT development through our training programs. We provide internships, training programs, and full-time recruitment,” she said.
The importance of collaboration was also highlighted during a panel discussion with representatives of business, government, academia and development partners.
The panellists noted that software needs to be patched and updated quickly and easily to improve it.
Academic courses also need a mechanism for quickly and easily adding the latest curriculum and content into courses, without going through a long bureaucratic process that current exists to update an entire course.