IBM to invest $75 mn to create 25 mn IT skilled workers in Africa

IBM today announced its plans to make an investment of $70 million or approximately ZAR 945 million for building digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to support workforce in Africa.

The IBM Digital – Nation Africa initiative provides cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programs for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence in Africa.

The main objective of IBM Digital – Nation Africa program is to increase digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers to tap into cognitive engines and create entrepreneurs.

IBM will deliver cloud-based online learning on IBM Bluemix cloud platform. Advanced IT skills will include social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection.

IT topics including programming, cybersecurity, data science and agile methodologies, as well as important business skills like critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship will also be focus areas.

IBM will launch the program its regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt.

“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.

IBM has a direct presence in 24 African countries and has made significant investments in recent years, including offices, innovation centers and other advanced facilities. The company has a research laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya and opened a second research facility in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016.

In 2015, IBM expanded its Africa Technical Academy and Africa University Program, providing skills in cloud, analytics, and big data technologies, reaching to over 150 academic institutions in Africa.

In September 2016, IBM signed an agreement with Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training and IBM Morocco for launching P-TECH program in Morocco. IBM is working with dozens of start-ups in South Africa.