Training Talent for the Future
By 2050, approximately 40% of the global population under the age of 18 is expected to have been born and raised in Africa. With a staggering 22 million Africans entering the job market each year, expected to reach 33 million per year by 2050 (World Bank), training digital talent becomes a pressing challenge.
In the realm of digital talent, the cards are currently stacked unevenly, with just five countries (South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Kenya) — hoarding 60% of the continent’s digital expertise (IFC). This glaring imbalance calls for immediate action to supercharge digital skills development all across Africa, leveling the playing field and seizing the surging demand for trained digital wizards. It’s time to pave the way for equal opportunities and ensure Africa’s digital potential knows no bounds.
Investing in Digital Skills and Mindset
To meet the demands of the digital era, Africa’s Edtech system requires increased investment. This involves the development of tech and digital skills from primary school onwards, as exemplified by successful initiatives in Rwanda and Niger. Integrating digital learning into traditional courses and supporting Edtechs and Digital Education Providers are essential steps toward equipping African youth with future-ready skills. By investing in these areas, Africa can foster the growth of its digital talent and enable individuals to thrive in the digital economy.
It’s through African talent that the continent will undergo transformation, tackling the pressing issue of essential services and driving real economic impact. Guided by conscious leadership from tech innovators and visionaries, Africa is poised to chart a course toward a brighter future.
What about Digital Africa’s Role ?
Digital Africa is an organisation dedicated to supporting Africa’s digital talent, and plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive development through digital innovations. Our mission is to equip African tech entrepreneurs with the capabilities and funding to design and scale digital innovations for the real economy.
Digital Africa is leading the charge in building a thriving tech ecosystem in Africa through
– The Talent 4 Startups program, in its pilot phase, trained 294 young Africans in 10 countries to meet the skilled talent needs of African startups. Over 64% of the alumni have secured employment, while 11% are still in internships.
– Data 4 Digital Africa aims to reduce data access costs and provide Data Scientist expertise to African startups through Hackathon campaigns and partnerships.
– Fuzè is a facility dedicated to entrepreneurs who are preparing to launch or have just launched their tech startup in Francophone Africa. We provide access to funding tickets of €20,000, €30,000, and €50,000 tailored to your stage of development.
Needs Analysis : soft, transversal & hard skills
While numerous training programs and content are available, it is crucial to identify the most essential skills for startups. In the African startup ecosystem, the most sought-after technical skills span diverse domains. First and foremost, developer jobs are essential for creating and maintaining innovative digital products. Data and analysis skills come next, as startups seek professionals who can make informed decisions and leverage strategic insights. Operations & Management talents are also in high demand, ensuring smooth efficiency and growth. Lastly, digital marketing is a crucial pillar, with a rising need for experts capable of crafting and executing impactful digital strategies.
However, it is soft skills that consistently emerge as the most prevalent and lacking skills in current programs. Collaboration, communication, leadership, self-organization, creativity, and critical thinking are crucial for success. In addition to soft skills, transversal skills, such as adaptability, problem-solving, and an entrepreneurial mindset, are essential for navigating the fast-changing, crisis-prone world we live in.
Community Building and Training
Building a robust learning community is vital to nurture tech talent that creates impactful companies. Mentorship programs, peer-to-peer learning, intergenerational exchanges, and cross-expertise collaboration foster skill development and innovation. Investing in community building alongside content delivery and leveraging offline infrastructure will ensure sustainable growth within the tech ecosystem. A holistic approach to training, encompassing both technical and soft skills, is necessary to prepare future workers for the challenges and opportunities of the digital era.
In Africa, the challenges related to training in both hard and soft skills are numerous. Fortunately, a plethora of initiatives exist to rise up to this challenge, and Digital Africa has set to play its part in education, funding, and support. As we forge ahead, let us draw inspiration from these efforts, knowing that through collective dedication, we can unlock the vast potential of Africa and create a brighter and more prosperous future for all.
Penelope Terranova, Head of Programs at Digital Africa