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Industry, varsity collaboration key to driving digital transformation

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Industry, varsity collaboration key to driving digital transformation


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Industry, varsity collaboration key to driving digital transformation


Africa’s digital economy continues to expand rapidly. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

With the astronomical growth of Internet users over the last decade, increased smartphone accessibility, and digital services tailored to specific needs in different regions, Africa’s digital economy continues to expand rapidly.

The African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa aims to achieve significant prosperity and inclusivity for the continent by relying on several pillars, the key among them being digital skills and human capacity.

Among other things, the strategy aims to provide is a massive online e-skills development programme to 300 million Africans per year by 2025, as well as basic knowledge and skills in digital security and privacy.

Digital skills are important for digital transformation because they enable individuals and businesses to effectively use digital technologies to drive business growth and improve operations.

Read: MURAGA: The key technology trends to watch out for during current year

Digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and having the right digital skills can help individuals and businesses stay competitive and successful.

Undoubtedly, Africa’s youth must be at the centre of the conversation about digital skilling because they will be the future drivers of change and innovation on the continent.

Young people have a unique perspective and the ability to learn skills that will be useful in driving digital transformation.

As a starting point, universities and institutions of higher learning provide fertile ground for sowing the seeds of change in skill acquisition and knowledge transfer.

Young people attend tertiary institutions to broaden their skill sets in ways that are marketable.

Excitingly, the market for tech jobs in Africa is rapidly expanding as multinational corporations establish themselves on the continent and home-grown start-ups expand to meet critical market demands.

Regrettably, even though tech companies are always on the lookout for new talent, they are frequently unable to hire recent graduates because many students only have theoretical knowledge and very little practical experience.

As part of Microsoft’s African Development Centre’s (ADC’s) campus tours, for example, we encourage students to take up tech-related professional courses alongside their degree studies.

With such an approach, fresh graduates armed with appropriate tech-related professional certifications, stand a higher chance of obtaining employment.

For the same reason, universities are collaborating with technology industry organisations to redesign their curricula to better meet industry needs.

For example, ADC is partnering with local universities (both public and private) to review their computer science programmes.

Students studying computer science will benefit from the new curriculum as they will have access to updated resources, courses, and assessments.

Read: MURAGA: Has your firm broadened talent pipeline?

Furthermore, updated curriculums with industry input will help students gain hands-on tech skills that will be useful throughout their tech careers.

The writer is the Managing Director of the Microsoft Africa Development Center.



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