The Fourth Industrial Revolution is having a disruptive effect on economies and the development of digital skills is vital.
There is an opportunity, especially for Kenya, to embrace new and exponential technologies combined with human talent to accelerate industrialization and drive economic growth.
According to The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa Report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), "it is predicted that 52% of all work activities in Kenya are susceptible to automation, as are 46% in Nigeria, 44% in Ethiopia and 41% in South Africa."
Recently at the Siemens Eastern Partner and Customer conference held in Kenya, discussions on the future of jobs and skills as a result of digital transformation took centre stage.
Ralf Leinen, Vice President for Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa says, "We are ramping up our commitment to the region to meet customer's needs, expanding our portfolio for digital enterprises, supporting customers in the manufacturing and process industries with digitalization, customization and efficiency improvements and making a commitment to the future pipeline of talent."
As part of the company's commitment to sustainable development in Kenya and across the continent, Siemens is donating equipment related to industrial automation to 13 engineering faculties at universities in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa.
"The uneven development of the past can only be overcome with locally engineered solutions," says Sabine Dall'Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa. "In an African context, disruptive technology can be seen as an opportunity to leapfrog into the best and most advanced technologies, but this is only possible with access to the right training and equipment."
According to the report, the greatest long-term benefits of ICT intensive jobs in the region are likely to be not in the lower-skilled delivery of digital products or services but in digital design, creation and engineering. To build a pipeline of future skills, Africa's educators should design future-ready curricula that encourage critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence as well as accelerate acquisition of digital and STEM skills to match the way people will work and collaborate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Ongoing education and training has a positive effect for both business and society. A strong pipeline of talent with the relevant skills and knowledge is beneficial to governments and businesses, while young people advance into jobs and careers with increased economic opportunity if they have the right skills.
"Our commitment to skills development and our relationships with these institutions goes beyond just this donation," adds Dall'Omo. "We invest for the long-term and believe that by playing an active role in skills development, locally engineered solutions could catalyze the re-industrialization of the economy and trigger growth on an unprecedented scale."
h Industrial Revolution may be disruptive to many occupations, it is also projected to create a wide range of new jobs in fields such as STEM, data analysis, computer science and engineering, the report added. There will be strong demand for professionals who can blend digital and STEM skills with traditional subject expertise, such as digital-mechanical engineers and business operations data analysts, who combine deep knowledge of their industry with the latest analytical tools to quickly adapt business strategies.