Africa Set To Become a Digital Talent Powerhouse
according to experts at inaugural GITEX Global Leaders Vision Summit
Africa is poised to power the world’s digital transformation with its huge young talent base leading an offshore services export revolution, according to the continent’s technology experts.
African government leaders and experts shared their insight on the continent’s potential for exporting technology skills at the GITEX Global Leaders Vision conference, hosted at GITEX Global, at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) until Thursday 21 October.
Attendees at the Vision Africa conference heard how Egypt is in pole position to lead the charge, while Ghana is set to show the way on bridging the digital gender divide.
HE Dr. Amr S. Talaat, Egypt’s Minister of Communications & IT, revealed the country’s ICT Vision 2030 aims to transform the nation into a world-leading digital services exporter, with the vision already producing results with 3,000 software engineers now exporting services to Europe’s automotive industry with more to come.
“By 2030 Egypt will be a digital services export centre backed by available talent,” said Dr Talaat.
Eng. Amr Mahfouz, CEO of Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDO) said the country is now turning out 55,000 multi-lingual IT graduates each year and that the nation’s 2021-2026 Offshore Strategy envisaged a tripling of digital exports over the next five years. He said the country’s talent base is also now a magnet for inward investment.
GHANA GOING GLOBAL
Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, H.E Ursula Owusu Ekuful was also bold in her predictions for the continent’s young talent pool.
“Africa will provide the digital workforce needs of the world in the next 20-30 years,” she forecast, saying the Ghanaian government is working to halt a “brain drain,” encouraging trained resources to “stay in Ghana” and is set on bridging the country’s gender digital divide.
Current initiatives, she said, include a light regulatory touch for business set-up, and a tripling of the nation’s skills mentorship programme for girls and isolated communities.
In Kenya, hopes are high on overturning the ‘bricks and mortars’ culture of industrialised nations to a knowledge-economy driven by mobility. “Mobile phones are the entry point to communications in Kenya,” said Dr. Tonny K. Omwansa, CEO, Kenya National Innovation Agency who put the country’s current mobile penetration at 103%, with some holding more than one SIM card. The innovation boss said healthcare, mobility and education are ripe for mobility disruption within Sub-Saharan Africa.
SKILLED YOUTH: AFRICA’S NEW WEALTH
Africa’s growing pool of digitally skilled youth is the continent’s new wealth potential and opens up a new opportunity frontier, according to Lacina Koné, Director General of Smart Africa, the not-for-profit alliance of 32 African countries looking to transform the continent into a single digital market.
“We are the youngest continent on the planet in that 70% of the African population is below 30 years of age which represents a huge untapped wealth resource,” he explained. “50% of mobile monetary transaction value emanates from Africa which only represents 1.5% of the digital economy – and this is where opportunity really lies,” he asserted.