The Fourth Industrial Revolution is having a disruptive effect on economies and the development of digital skills is vital. There is an opportunity, especially in Africa, to embrace new and exponential technologies combined with human talent to accelerate industrialization and drive economic growth.
According to The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa Report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it is predicted that 44 percent of all work activities in Ethiopia are susceptible to automation, as are 46 percent in Nigeria, 52 percent in Kenya and 41 percent in South Africa.
With this in mind, Siemens is handing over equipment specifically related to industrial automation that enables integrated engineering to 13 engineering faculties at universities in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. This is part of the company’s commitment to sustainable skills development across the continent. The value of the equipment is close to $400 000.
Data collected by WEF in key African markets shows employers across the region identify inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to their businesses, including 41 percent of all firms in Tanzania, 30 percent in Kenya, 9 percent in South Africa and 6 percent in Nigeria. This pattern may get worse in the future. In South Africa alone, 39 percent of core skills required across occupations will be wholly different by 2020.
“The uneven development of the past can only be overcome with locally engineered solutions,” says CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo. She continues: “In an African context, disruptive technology can be seen as an opportunity to leapfrog into the best and most advanced technologies, but this is only possible with access to the right training and equipment.”
She noted that Siemens will continue its commitment to Africa and offer long-term support to beneficiaries by ensuring that students are able to train on the most advanced technology available. “This will ensure that graduates, and therefore the emerging workforce, have the skills necessary to effectively lead large-scale digitalization across the continent, resulting in long-term benefits to economic growth.”
According to Dall’Omo; “Convergence of man and machine intelligence will enable a new era of speed, flexibility, efficiency and connectivity in the 21st century. The conversation about man vs machine is not an either-or scenario. Ongoing education and training has a positive effect for both business and society. A strong pipeline of talent with the relevant skills and knowledge is beneficial to governments and businesses, while young people advance into jobs and careers with increased economic opportunity if they have the right skills.”
Factory automation and electrical engineering equipment donations have been made to institutions in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
“Our commitment to skills development and our relationships with these institutions goes beyond just this donation,” adds Dall’Omo. “We invest for the long-term and believe that by playing an active role in skills development, locally engineered solutions could catalyze the re-industrialization of the economy and trigger growth on an unprecedented scale.”
The company further states that it has a unique understanding of the challenges faced across the African continent, and has proved to be a reliable partner from grassroots level, right through to corporate and government level.