An SAP cooperation project has helped build vital digital skills capacity to power Africa’s digital economy.
According to Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, the cooperation project has helped unlock the immense youth talent dividend in several African countries. “Africa is one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic continents, with vast unlocked potential for innovation, digital transformation and prosperity.
However, without access to the correct skills, much of this potential will remain locked away from African enterprises and undermine our global competitiveness. This makes projects such as our collaboration with GIZ and our industry players so vital to the continent’s digital transformation ambitions.”
The project is part of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation and the develoPPP program that the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The aim was to jointly create jobs for highly-qualified personnel in the African IT sector over the course of three years, from 2019 to 2022. Participants came from 16 African countries: Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mali, Angola and Tanzania.
Three-year project produces huge talent dividend
Over the three-year period, a total of 621 young professionals graduated, of which more than 40% were women. More than 530 graduates secured employment following the training. Participants were trained as SAP Associate Consultants and were immediately employable within the SAP partner and customer ecosystem.
Key highlights from the partnership include:
- Nearly all (98.6%) participants have successfully graduated from the programs
- A total of 537 jobs in the digital economy were created for African youth
- A total of 24 classes – or cohorts – were completed within the three-year timeframe.
Alp Geckalan, Head of the Digital Skills Center for EMEA South at SAP, says: “This collaboration shows how digital skills can change people’s lives and contribute to the digital transformation of countries and economies. We are thankful for the collaboration with GIZ and are proud to have been able to jointly create positive change in the lives and careers of so many talented young people.”
Graduates sing program’s praises
Since its launch in 2012, the SAP Young Professionals Program has graduated more than 1 730 youths in Africa across 22 countries. This is nearly half of the total global graduates of the program, which is offered on the continent under the umbrella of SAP Skills for Africa.
The 2-3 month program covers a unique enablement plan that includes SAP software functional/technical knowledge and certification with key focus on SAP’s latest innovations as well as soft and future skills training. It targets bright graduates from universities – all of whom are unemployed or underemployed nationals of the country where the program is offered.
According to Adesola Akorede, a Nigerian graduate, the program has changed her professional and personal life. “I have been able to apply my new skills in my professional life with great results. By virtue of the program, I was able to gain employment with WYZE Consulting, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.”
Mohamed Tahar Seddik Attia, a graduate from Algeria, says he cannot recommend the program highly enough. “This is more than just a program where you learn to use SAP systems. It’s a place where you push your limits, discover new ways of thinking, learn essential skills in the business world and meet amazing people.”
For Ugandan graduate Lebson Nasasira, the program led to a chance at a dream job. “The program was pretty intensive and I had to learn completely new concepts that took me out of my comfort zone. However, thanks to the program, I now have a distinct advantage over my peers in terms of my knowledge, communication skills and hands-on experience with digital transformation.”
Smith adds that the development of Africa’s youthful talent pool ranks among the continent’s top priorities to ensure growth and prosperity throughout the 21st century. “As this hugely successful collaborative partnership has shown, public and private sector companies can combine forces to great effect to equip talented young graduates with the correct skills and make an immediate and sustained positive impact on Africa’s digital economy.”