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IBM rolls out Sh7.2 billion youth tech skills programme in Africa

“New Collar” is a term used by IBM to describe new kinds of careers that do not always require a four-year college degree but rather sought-after skills in cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more

Johannesburg, South Africa, Feb 9 – IBM has set aside Sh7.2 billion to provide free cloud-based skills to 25 million African youths in the next five years.

The Digital-Nation Africa project is part of IBM’s global push to build the next generation of skills needed for New Collar careers in the areas of cyber security, data science, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

The program will be launched from IBM’s regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt before it expands across the continent.

The initiative will provide access to thousands of resources free of charge, including, Ready-to-use mobile apps, online assessments and an App Marketplace.

IBM Digital – Nation Africa is designed to help raise overall digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers able to tap into cognitive engines and enable entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs grow businesses around the new solutions.

Through a free, cloud-based online learning environment delivered on IBM Bluemix the initiative will provide a range of programs from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills including social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection.

Hamilton Ratshefola, country general manager for IBM South Africa said effective, high quality IT education is a key driver of economic vitality in Africa.

“Through access to open standards, best practices, IBM tools, and course materials, the broad scope of this initiative will enable vital skills development,” says Ratshefola

“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. This will be the key to spurring economic growth.”

The initiative will provide access to thousands of resources free of charge, including, ready-to-use mobile apps, web guides, online Assessments, volunteer program to support and promote digital literacy and an App Marketplace.

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The initiative will be supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which has a special focus on fostering market-driven ICT skills in Africa and the Middle East.

IBM will collaborate with UNDP on opportunities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills delivery, certification, and accreditation.

UNDP will work with their network of existing government partnerships to extend the program throughout Africa.

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