Ministry of ICT Kenya Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has joined a section of African ICT Ministers to drive the digital skills agenda in Africa. The Ministers resolved to end unemployment and expand entrepreneurship in the knowledge and traditional sectors of the continent by developing the digital skills in Africa.

The resolve was arrived at during a virtual Roundtable Forum organized by the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to commemorate African ICT Day, celebrated every 7th December.

The 2021 edition was commemorated under the theme, “Digital Skills Development for Africa’s Digital Transformation”. The Forum presented an opportunity for Governments, policy makers, the private sector, regional development bodies and ICT stakeholders to deliberate on strategic ways to overcome the barriers that prevent Africans from the effective use of ICTs.

This year’s Africa ICT Day celebration comes days after a publication of data establishing that between 2019 and 2021, Africa has had a 23% increase in internet usage. The data by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), suggests that despite Africa experiencing this growth, the continent is still battling with widening differences in ICT skill levels between age groups, occupation, gender and location.

Speaking during the forum, ATU Secretary General Mr. John Omo stated, “There is an urgent need for Africa to equip and prepare her citizens with the right digital skills for the uptake of emerging technologies such as 4IR for the socio-economic benefit of the continent.”

Delivering his remarks, CS Mucheru urged the policy makers and regulators to adopt the just developed ATU e-skills framework that is aimed at assisting African countries understand and address underlying challenges. “For us to fully respond to and harness the power of emerging technologies, we need to work together and embrace massive e-skills development as a gateway to fulfilling the potential and the promise of Africa’s vibrant digital future.”

Representing the five regions of Africa at the forum were the ICT Ministers from Senegal, South Africa, Chad and Ghana, and the Chief of staff from the ministry of ICT Tunisia. The private sector was represented by delegates from Nokia and the Global System for Mobile Communications.