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Africa’s steady economic growth has been much-heralded in recent years, but while economic growth across the continent is heartening, it doesn’t always directly impact unemployment levels (in particular, youth unemployment). SAP has been demonstrating its commitment to delivering growth and economic opportunity in Africa for years, recognizing early on that the ICT industry can play a role in helping to drive skills development and employment across the continent. Through research and engagement, SAP has concluded that strong support for entrepreneurs and small businesses, together with training in technologies that are well suited to Africa (e.g. mobile applications and cloud computing) can begin to help close this gap.

SAP Africa has a range of initiatives underway that are demonstrating promise across Africa, offering students access to education, helping small businesses establish themselves and grow and providing entrepreneurs with the assistance they need to develop new industries and sectors. To that end, SAP recently announced the launch of a formal skills development program in SAP Africa under the rubric “Skills for Africa”. The program focuses on developing ICT skills in Africa as part of SAP’s global commitment to promoting education and entrepreneurship, and underscores SAP’s commitment to supporting sustainable growth in emerging economies.

SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe gave the program a strong show of support, and participated in the launch event activities with SAP Africa CEO Pfungwa Serima during a visit to SAP’s offices in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"Securing a highly skilled workforce in Africa is key to ongoing success. Not only is SAP committed to the countries in which it does business; programs of this nature make solid business sense,” said Snabe.

“SAP sees huge opportunities for Africa and the multi-million Euro investment into this program over the next five years is indicative of our commitment. Bearing in mind that the unemployment rate varies from 25.5 percent in South Africa to almost 48 percent in Senegal, there is a distinct requirement for business to help develop an appropriate skills base, especially when taking into account the enormous growth opportunity for Africa from an infrastructure perspective.”

SAP Education Africa was well represented at the event, as they work closely with universities at the local level as well as provide content from SAP Education's curricula and certification program expertise. Here's what they had to say:

“The Skills for Africa program is unique in its approach, as it creates a model that will yield a sustainable flow of skilled SAP resources throughout Africa. SAP together with its partners customers and Universities will collaborate on a number of initiatives to ensure talent is identified and skilled while receiving the necessary mentorship support and workplace experience to fulfill the growing demand for SAP skills in the identified growth areas. The Skills for Africa program will break down the historic barriers preventing training in Africa and provide accessibility, sustainability, quality and inclusiveness.” - - Gerhard Alberts, SAP Africa Education Director

"Having Jim Snabe put such emphasis and focus on our Skills for Africa program drive creates awareness on a global level. We are very proud to drive this project as we feel the need for increasing skills on the continent is of significant importance. The SAP training kits are innovative, user friendly and create vocational study available to many with limited resources, eradicating the need for Internet bandwidth and substantially slicing the price of training costs. This will increase the SAP footprint in our region and the continent in years to come will become a market leader."  - - Bernadine Jeffrey, SAP Africa Education Channel Manager

This program represents the African chapter of SAP’s “EMEA Workforce of the Future” campaign, focused on examining European, Middle Eastern and African trends, needs and opportunities vital to the successful recruitment, retention and training of the technology industry’s workforce of the future. In support of this effort, several other activities are underway across Europe, most notably the Academy Cube project, which helps students in the EU prepare for “Industry 4.0,” the fourth industrial revolution where products will soon be expected to be able to communicate and act autonomously with one another in intelligently networked production processes.

Skills for Africa training will comprise a hybrid approach of classroom and e-learning. The unique self-study e-learning environment will allow students to study when and how it suits them without requiring Internet access; a key factor in many of the locations in question. To kick off this phase of the roll-out of the program, SAP Africa is also launching training kits in English, French and Portuguese across the relevant countries. And to support the program rollout, a 56-strong partner base has been established throughout Africa, closely aligned with the SAP’s partner ecosystem in Africa.

For more details on the program, read the newsbyte: SAP Commits to Driving Skills Development and Job Creation in Africa. To learn more about SAP’s Academy Cube initiative, see this short video.

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