World Bank and SAP Address Skills Development in Africa
SAP Africa and the World Bank have announced their intention to develop a framework for collaboration on skills development. The document was signed by Pfungwa Serima, chief executive officer of SAP Africa, who is in the United States for a series of meetings focused on refining synergies between African operations and the African objectives of the World Bank. Serima will also attend the Corporate Council on Africa’s 2013 U.S.-Africa Business Summit, being held October 8-11 in Chicago SAP is a sponsor of this event, and Serima will use this forum of over 1500 business leaders and Ministers to reaffirm SAP’s commitment to strengthening educational and entrepreneurial capacity across the continent.
The first phase of the skills development initiative is expected to be implemented later this year, and follows SAP’s launch earlier this year of the “Skills for Africa” program, an initiative to facilitate development of information and communications technology (ICT) skills in Africa.
“SAP recognizes that promoting education and training is one of the best ways to improve the problem of chronic youth unemployment, an issue affecting the technology industry as a whole,” said Serima. “With growth and the scarcity of skills on the African continent a prominent issue on our mind, we anticipate that our collaboration with the World Bank will amplify our efforts to develop world-class IT and business skills and give Africa’s youth an opportunity to play a role in contributing towards Africa’s future economic growth and infrastructure development. We hope to help amplify Africa’s voice in the global policy debates of our time, particularly as they relate to Africa’s economic and development opportunities, and our goal is to help foster the intellectual and research base to aid this growth.”
The Skills for Africa program, which is unique on the continent, was launched in May 2013 by Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO of SAP AG. It focuses on building skills needed for employment, and provides students with internship opportunities with SAP partners and customers after their training. In Kenya, for example, Kenya’s ICT Board and Multimedia University of Nairobi have committed to delivering professional training and providing official ICT certification to 100 university graduates.
“In its global mission to fight extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity, the World Bank recognizes both the value of technology in supporting these goals and the acute need for a skills development initiative to train the next generation of IT professionals,” the World Bank said in a statement. “The World Bank has a long-standing commitment to promoting innovative educational and technology-driven programs. We recognize that SAP is one of the global innovators in ICT, and is undertaking efforts to ensure a well-trained, effective African ICT work force.”