IBM, listed in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced that it will invest $70m in building and developing digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to help support a 21st century workforce in Africa.
The initiative, “IBM Digital – Nation Africa”, provides a cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programmes for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence and nurturing innovation in Africa.
It comes as a part of IBM’s global efforts to build the next generation of skills needed for “New Collar” careers. “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 cyber-security, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more.
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 new solutions.
Based on Watson, a computer system supported by DeepQA, the cognitive online system will adapt and learn. It will review the multiple interactions the education initiative will have with students, to help direct them to the right courses and help IBM refine the courses to better adapt the material for the needs of the users.
The program will be launched from IBM’s regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt, with the aim of equipping as many as 25 million people with sought after IT skills over the next five years.
“IBM sees effective, high quality IT education as 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 Hamilton Ratshefola, country general manager for IBM South Africa.