BY CEDRIC SWANKA
Botswana`s continued investment and development towards information communication technologies which contribute to improved digital skills has been recognised among Africa`s digital initiatives to watch in 2019 by Liquid Telecom in their African Digital skills report 2019.
The report, takes a look at how Liquid Telecom and its partners are facilitating online learning in the region; not only through the provision of learning content, but also sharing experience and knowledge in the technologies.
Botswana has been featured in the report for committing to ICT development, with different Governments across the region continuing to find new ways to develop digital skills that can help deliver long-term economic growth. The continued investment is driven by the need for economic diversification and growth with experts describing it as a pragmatic approach. “Botswana, with a relatively small population and a solid education system, appears to have a more pragmatic approach to ICT skills development than neighbouring South Africa. In its quest for economic diversification and growth, Botswana recognises the need to stimulate the development of a digital economy,” The reports shares.
Different sectors have benefitted and continue to benefit from these ICT themed innovations, such as the education sector with the introduction of the Atlega mobile app, emergence of more internet service providers who provide internet packages to homes and businesses. Also the communications sector has benefitted with the unveiling of a data centre in Botswana by Botswana telecommunications (BTC) which is set to bring improvements in data sharing and communication, to name a few.
The report provides analysis and insight on the major government-backed projects poised to drive digital skills in 2019 and beyond. Other countries featured alongside Botswana from the SADC region include Zimbabwe for their pockets of digital innovation, plans to close skills gap, South Africa for School tablets, digital literacy for SME`s and big Industry 4.0 ambitions and Zambia for fast-tracking ICT education. Moving upwards into Africa, Uganda has been featured for working hard towards a digitally-enabled economy by 2040 while Kenya for cementing its position as a tech hotspot and Rwanda for championing ICT in East Africa
The report calls for a need for skills development that can contribute to improvement of Africa`s standard of living. “With a billion strong population and one of the youngest populations in the world, there is an urgent and pressing need to develop skills that can sustain African workforces in both the immediate and distant future. Getting the education pieces of the puzzle right will go a long way to securing a brighter future for the whole continent.”
Africa’s young population has already woken up to this fact. The African Digital Skills Report 2019 report uncovers a fierce appetite from this new generation to learn and master skills in emerging technologies. Inspired by vibrant tech scenes in many of the region’s capital cities, young people today are realising that technology not only offers great career prospects – but can also be used as a force for good.
Data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (iot) and cloud, are just some of the emerging technologies being used by the region’s start-ups to develop solutions to real African problems. Greater accessibility to online learning tools and platforms is also playing a starring role in supporting the growth of digital skills.
The report finds Africa to be in a critical transitional period – during which it must not only ensure there a pipeline of skilled workers entering the workforce, but also establish itself as a home to leading tech talent.