Information technology giant Oracle Corporation has unveiled an initiative designed to enrich and increase the skills capacity of IT practitioners in Africa.
The four-pronged program was devised as a response to the rapid adoption of new technologies by governments and businesses in Africa, exacerbating the shortage of suitably skilled practitioners to use the systems to best advantage.
According to the company, the dramatic advancement of technology over the past five years has resulted in a gap in IT competencies and skills availability. In effect, organizations in the continent are adopting new technologies at a rate which is outstripping the availability of appropriately qualified staff.
“IT holds the promise to promote social inclusion, combat corruption, expand the digital economy and enable stronger links between citizens and governments, businesses and customers, NGOs and the communities they serve,” said Alfonso Di Ianni, Senior Vice President, Oracle East Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
He added they can do this and at the same time dramatically reduce costs and improve efficiency. However for technology to support such transformation, organizations must have ready access to people capable of setting up and maintaining these systems.
The program consists of four elements that are employee readiness, ecosystem readiness, workforce readiness and youth readiness.
Oracle is reaching out to governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations to implement a long term skills strategy that will help fulfil demand for relevant IT skills.
“Using the materials and manpower from Oracle affiliate institutions and in partnership with the organization or the community, Oracle will create programs addressing their skills need,” said Orfhlaith Ni Chorcora, Oracle Senior Director, Business Development.
He added that two such partnerships are already underway with the Lagos State government in Nigeria and Equity Group Foundation in Kenya to jointly drive successful initiatives tailored to the local needs.
“Building a competitive pool of IT-skilled youth in the state is a priority for Lagos State,” said Governor Babatunde Fashola(SAN).
To successfully achieve this goal, it takes multi-stakeholder support and long term collaboration with organizations such as Oracle who share the state’s deepest commitment to building skills and creating exciting job opportunities for the youth of Lagos.
Dr Helen Gichohi, Managing Director of Equity Group Foundation, noted that for Africa to compete internationally there is need to raise ICT competencies to global standards.
“In the emerging economic order, basic computer literacy means the ability not only to use software, but also to modify or create; in other words, to program,” she said.