The Government is working in partnership with institutions of higher learning in the country towards creating digital content aimed at opening up business opportunities in the 47 counties.
This was revealed by Principal Secretary Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology Mr. Joseph Tiampati Musuni, during the launch of a regional ICT conference, Cisco Academy Safari which opened Tuesday, July 28, at JKUAT.
The PS noted, the partnership was tailored towards “creating employment and generating wealth as well as capacity building with emphasis on ICT training in educational institutions and setting up of ICT incubation hubs to empower the youths with the necessary training and work experience to develop market ready ICT products and services.
Mr. Tiampati further said, the initiative was informed by the recognition of the critical role ICT plays in economic development, and the need to create knowledge based economy, a prospect he noted, “Provided an opportunity for the country to shift the current industrial development path towards innovation as a key source of economic growth.”
Closing the two day conference, National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation Director General, Dr. Moses Kipng’eno Rugut, lauded the “tremendous efforts made by JKUAT and Cisco systems in supporting ICT education, training, research and innovation. He pledged the Government’s continued support to the work being done by the two institutions.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Prof. Romanus Odhiambo said, “JKUAT was pleased to work hand-in-hand with Cisco in building ICT human capacity relevant to the market.”
Globally, INSEAD Business School’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2014 (co-authored by Cisco) projects the shortage of skilled IP networking professionals at about 1.2 million people in 2015. While in East Africa, Cisco estimates that 30,000 to 70, 000 skilled information technology workers are needed.
However, the downside is that tertiary institutions are not producing enough ICT graduates to meet this demand, hence the conference deliberations on specific programmes and targeted policies needed to expand the pool of qualified people in East Africa and globally by increasing the number of new Networking employees (graduates), encouraging and enabling mid-career professionals to transition to ICT and Networking, and increasing a country’s total talent by encouraging immigration.
Hital Muraj, Cisco Manager, East & Central Southern Africa, said, the challenge of talent gap could be addressed through dedicated public policy, specific training programmes, and public involvement on the part of governments, citizens and private enterprise.
Among those who spoke at the conference include: Cisco Ag. General Manager Mr. Bunei, Director School of Computing and Information Technology, Dr. Stephen Kimani.
Over 120 delegates from Cisco Networking Academy community from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Seychelles, Somalia, Zambia, among others, shared experiences on building and supporting ICT human capacity through networking, creating sustainable academy communities and driving ICT education forward.