Preparing Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index finds that Sub-Saharan Africa currently only captures 55% of its human capital potential, compared to a global average of 65%. With more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s youngest region. By 2030, the continent’s working-age population is set to increase by two-thirds, from 370 million adults in 2010 to over 600 million in 2030.

The region’s capacity to adapt to further job disruption is a concern. Employers across the region already identify inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to their businesses. Often this skills instability stems from the fact that many jobs in the region are becoming more intense in their use of digital technologies. Average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the last decade, while 6.7% of all formal sector employment in Ghana and 18.4% of all formal sector employment in Kenya occurs in occupations with high ICT intensity.

The greatest long-term benefits of ICT intensive jobs in the region are likely to be not in the lower-skilled delivery of digital products or services but in digital design, creation and engineering. To build a pipeline of future skills, Africa’s educators should design future-ready curricula that encourage critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence as well as accelerate acquisition of digital and STEM skills to match the way people will work and collaborate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Source: World Economic Forum report on The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_EGW_FOJ_Africa.pdf