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Tech talent crunch hits East and West Africa, new study reveals

SAP’s Young Professionals Programme addresses skills deficit and unemployment.
SAP’s Young Professionals Programme addresses skills deficit and unemployment.

An acute tech talent shortage has hit companies across East and West Africa and the problem is expected to grow this year, a new study by the German-software firm SAP reveals.

The SAP study reveals 93% of organisations in the two regions say the need for tech skills has increased in the past 12 months, with two-thirds of Nigerian organisations citing a 'significant' increase in demand this year.

Only three percent of organisations in the two regions are not expecting tech skills challenges in 2023, says the company.

This comes at a time when Africa is in dire need of tech talent as the use of digital technologies is being punted as the catalyst to economic growth on the continent.

The global software giant revealed its research details this week, during the graduation of 26 candidates from the SAP Young Professionals Programme.

The candidates from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana are now positioned to assist in driving the digital transformation efforts of organisations in East and West Africa, according to SAP.

"Access to suitably qualified tech skills is one of the biggest challenges facing African organisations, and the need for tech skills is only likely to increase, due to the rising demand for digital tools and processes,” says Amin Meqdadi, head of mid-market SAP Africa.

“The SAP Young Professionals Programme plays a vital role by providing digital skill enablement opportunities for youth and helps alleviate the skills crunch that most African organisations face."

SAP offers several skills development initiatives under the umbrella of Skills for Africa, including the SAP Young Professionals Programme and the SAP Dual Study Programme, as well as a newly-launched SAP Digital Skills Training Programme, which is running for the first time in South Africa this year.

The company says: “These initiatives create a quadruple-win situation: local unemployed or underemployed youth find suitable job opportunities, SAP customers and partners find brilliant talent for their digitalisation efforts, countries benefit from the digital skills created, and SAP enhances the strength of its ecosystem.”

Since its launch in 2012, the SAP Young Professionals Programme has trained and graduated more than 4 000 talents across 41 countries globally, including more than 1 900 graduates from 22 African countries.

The latest cohort of the 26 graduates completed certificate courses in SAP Ariba Sourcing ‘to boost digital transformation in procurement and fast-track the establishment of digital supply chains, as well as SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud, a core component of the intelligent enterprise and a leading driver of Africa's rapid digital transformation,’ says SAP.

Participants graduate from the programme as SAP associate consultants, and will be job-ready, says the company.

Henok Petros, a graduate from Ethiopia who formed part of the latest cohort, comments: "The SAP Young Professionals Programme has helped me gain a different insight and helped me see my own potential in many ways.

“I'm grateful that I could successfully complete the training. I enjoyed it as it helped me interact with different trainers and colleagues from all over Africa."

The next cohort of SAP Young Professionals Programme with candidates from South Africa will commence their training at the end of March and will graduate in June.

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