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Project prepares Africa’s youth for the future

A partnership between the African Union and VMware is hoped to give new impetus to preparing Africa’s youth for the future, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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VMware’s Everline Wangu Kamau-Migwi and African Union Commissioner Sara Anyang Agbo at VMworld in Barcelona. Pic by Arthur Goldstuck

In response, the heads of states of the AU came up with a plan called agenda 2063, essentially a blueprint of the Africa they want to see by 2063. It is a 50-year plan, but divided into five phases of 10 years each. The eight departments in the AU commission each have a mandate to come up with projects that have an impact on social, economic development and sustainability levels. Agbor’s department has the responsibility of capacity building and creating human resources for different kinds of jobs in the market. 

As much as this vision feeds into the concept of the fourth industrial revolution, however, Agbor is not convinced that should be the focus.

“Where are we in Africa, when it comes to these industrial revolutions? Have we been able to achieve even the first and the second industrial revolutions? Yet, we have a focus on the fourth industrial revolution, and we are moving with the crowd. We don’t need to move with the crowd. 

“When we look at ourselves as Africans, when we look at the continent, what are the things that we are lacking? Where are the challenges, how can we create an African solution to the African challenges?”

In response, the AU came up with the “1-million by 2021” initiative, to train 1-million African youths in employable IT skills over the next two years.

“Here we are saying, we need to empower the youth of Africa in four Es: the E of education, the E of entrepreneurship, the E of empowerment and employment, and the E of engagement. We need to get them engaged; we should not treat them like people who do not have a voice. 

“Under the E of education, there are several pathways. The first one is internship and scholarship, and VMware’s involvement was in this internship scholarship. The second one is alternative learning. Then, of course, virtualisation and cloud computing is an alternative way of learning, and speaks to the future of work. The fourth one is teacher-training professionals.”

The partnership with VMware, says Agbor, is in the spirit of Ubuntu.

“That Africa dream that we are envisaging by 2063 can only be realised if the right infrastructures in Information and communications technologies are put in place. If not, there will be no dream, but there must be a dream, and there is a dream. So this partnership is in the spirit of Ubuntu: ‘I am because we are’; ‘my existence depends on you; your existence depends on me’, because it is a partnership.”

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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