IBM Corporation has announced an investment of US$70 million to build much-needed digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to help support a 21st century workforce in Africa.
The investment heralds the launch of the IBM Digital – Nation Africa initiative, which will help raise overall digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers able to tap into cognitive engines and enable entrepreneurs grow businesses around the new solutions.
The initiative will provide a cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programs for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence and nurturing innovation in Africa.
The programs provided via the learning platform will range from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills including social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection.
Also, the initiative will provide access to thousands of resources, in English, free of charge, including ready-to-use mobile apps, guides, online Assessments, volunteers, and an app marketplace, where new apps can either be made freely available or sold.
“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.
He added, “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 (UNDP), will be launched from IBM’s regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt, enabling expansion across the continent and reaching 25 million people within the set time frame.