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Economic Commission for Africa aims to empower 650m workers with digital skills

By , Africa editor
Africa , 21 Feb 2024
Claver Gatete, Economic Commission for Africa executive secretary,
Claver Gatete, Economic Commission for Africa executive secretary,

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has announced that it aspires to empower 650 million African workers with digital skills by 2030, while creating millions of jobs for the continent's young.

This was revealed this week, in Ethiopia, by Claver Gatete, ECA executive secretary, while speaking at the 2024 edition of the annual ECA Africa Business Forum.

The forum, held in Addis Ababa, served as a meeting point for public-private collaborations, with tech players, such as Google, demonstrating the joint efforts required to realise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

Gatete emphasised Africa's potential to become a global solutions powerhouse through focused efforts in science and technology.

"Investment in these fields is crucial for job creation, boosting productivity, and enhancing competitiveness," added Gatete, stressing the relevance of AI and machine learning as critical instruments to address social and economic concerns.

While acknowledging the enormous increase in broadband availability and adoption of mobile money, Gatete emphasised that these accomplishments pale in comparison to the vast potential.

He proposed closing the digital skills gap for 650 million workers by 2030 and creating millions of employment opportunities for Africa's young.

"The potential of Africa’s digital economy is enormous. However, realising this potential rests on closing critical gaps in digital skills, data generation, and utilisation, as well as the requisite infrastructure," he added.

Doron Avni, Google's vice president for emerging markets, noted AI's significant impact and potential role in promoting sustainable and equitable growth in Africa. He advocated for inclusive AI education and government investment in this field.

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