ICT skills and capacity deficits remain a major challenge facing African countries in their quest for sustainable development.
Speaking on Tuesday during the opening of the 58th session of African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) governing council in Mombasa, the Principal Secretary ICT and Innovation Mr. Jerome Ochieng said there’s need to overcome the skills deficit in order to achieve development goals.
In his speech read by the Communication Authority Chairman Ngene Gituku, the PS reiterated that the digital world has immense possibilities for our economies.
“Africa needs urgent and concerted efforts to address the skills deficit conundrum if it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2063, respective national development strategies and the regions ICT Agenda,” he said.
Ochieng reported that Kenya as a country has begun the journey to bridge the technological gap when it launched the Digital Economic Blueprint that defines the framework for the country with five pillars where digital skills were recognized as prerequisites for drawing benefits from any technology.
“AFRALTI whose core mission is capacity building, occupies a strategic position in transforming human as well as institutional skills to catapult the continent to greater socio economic advancement,” said Ochieng.
The PS called on AFRALTI to seize the opportunity to narrow the skills gap in the continent by capacity building ICT practitioners.
According to the African Capacity Building foundation, Africa has an acute shortage of skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.
The institute noted that there’s a deficit of 4.3 million engineers who are needed to tackle Africa’s Infrastructure problems.
The foundation recommended that Africa needs improved governance to succeed in its ambitions for transformation, but it can only do this by covering the huge skills deficit the continent has in STEM areas.
He underscored that demand for ICT is high and the government, regulators, industry and other partners seek to build and transfer required skill sets to foster growth in fast changing technological landscape globally for development to be achieved.
The PS added that New technologies and services are emerging with digital technologies dominating our daily activities at personal level, businesses and governments.
“The government has no choice to invest but to invest in the preparation of appropriate digital skills,” he said.
By Joseph Kamolo