IBM Digital – Nation Africa, which will be rolled out on a cloud-based learning platform, will provide free programmes to users to help nurture innovation, and improve digital competence.
The company will invest $70m into the initiative which will focus on cultivating skills for “New Collar” jobs – a range of careers which include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and the cloud computing.
“Industries across the spectrum need to enable the existing and future workforce to perform at the forefront of technologies”
The programmes will also cater for a spectrum of abilities from basic IT skills up to advanced subjects including cybersecurity and programming.
IBM has also partnered with the United Nations Development Programme to collaborate on STEM skills delivery, certification and accreditation.
“UNDP is pleased to leverage its global presence, development knowledge, and long standing partnerships to provide context, traction and scale to this collaboration with IBM,” said Walid Badawi, UNDP country director in South Africa.
Africa’s booming population currently exceeds 1.2 billion, with almost 20% aged between 15 and 24.
However, there is a great need to upskill the workforce.
“In order to find solutions to Africa’s challenges, industries across the spectrum need to enable the existing and future workforce to perform at the forefront of technologies such as cognitive and cloud computing,” said Hamilton Ratshefola, country general manager for IBM South Africa.
“This will be the key to spurring economic growth.”
The initiative will launch from IBM’s regional offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco, allowing it to expand across the continent.
It will also incorporate IBM’s already existing Watson software, a question answering computer system, allowing the programmes to be adapted to the individual user.