During the forum, Participants were taken through the role of technology and how the skills gap in Africa can be addressed in the labor market.
Since 2015, the Government of Rwanda entered into a cooperation with ICDL in the area of training in digital skills to enhance efficiency.
ICDL offers training in different categories such as ICDL Workforce – Digital skills for employability and productivity - consisting of Essential Skills, Office Productivity, and Good practice modules. The ICDL Professional Digital skills for occupational effectiveness – consisting of Creative, entrepreneurial and computational skills.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Claudette Irere, thanked ICDL for the partnership with the Government of Rwanda in uplifting the skills of the workforce and the general population.
She said that about 60% of Rwandans are below 35 years old and working in public or private institutions stressing the need for extra effort to equip the youth with the necessary ICT skills.
The Chief Executive of ICDL Foundation, Damien O’Sullivan, said that they have made Digital skills training and certification a priority over the last twenty years. Presenting on The Digital Skills Divide- a global challenge, he reiterated that the challenge in the changing nature of work from twenty years back, but some current workforce is lacks up to date ICT skills which have resulted in delayed delivery of services and huge underperformance.
‘‘ICDL Africa put effort in training people, ICDL is not a western company brought to Africans, it is an international organization that has made an impact everywhere around the world,” he said.
According to Peter Maina Njagi, the Programme Manager at ICDL Africa, the issue of Digital skills gap is common in both public and private institutions leading to delays of rendered services and inefficiency.
“Nowadays, making work report can take days because of poor levels of digital literacy among the workforce. Enhanced productivity is possible if all workforce is capable of manipulating computers and the applications they use daily,” he said.
Njagi told IGIHE that ICDL Africa has partnered with different institutions and offered trainings to their workforce since opening doors to Rwanda, including the Ministry of Defense, National Police, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Social Security Board(RSSB),University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) among others with the aim to equip them with the digital skills that are applicable to enhance their productivity .
“In the coming five years African countries should prioritize technology to the level of Singapore that has seen a lot of development by building on human capital and using technology in their day to day activities. Africa needs to expend much effort in technology as the foundation of development,” he added.
The Vice-Chancellor for Academic programs and research at UTB, Prof Dr. Tombola Gustave, said that since partnering with ICDL Africa, the university has trained their students and staff on best practices and ICT skills needed by the job market stressing the importance of the globally recognized certificates that they offer to their graduates.
This has made graduates very competitive in the labor market.
In 2015, ICDL signed a partnership with Rwanda through the then Ministry of Youth and ICT currently the Ministry of ICT and Innovation in Rwanda with the aim to train 85,000 public servants by the year 2020. The PS at the ministry is keen on this dream being achieved albeit later than planned but the partnership with ICDL Africa has made the dream of a digital literate Rwanda a possibility.