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Digify Africa, Facebook to shed light on digital skills shortage

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Skills development body Digify Africa, in collaboration with Facebook, will host the Youth Digital Skills Forum on 11 June.

The forum is part of the organisations’ effort to encourage dialogue around digital skills.

The event, which will run from 10am to noon, will bring together key industry players who will share insights on the current digital landscape, the role of skills development initiatives like Digify Pro and Boost with Facebook in fostering digital inclusion, and the career and entrepreneurial opportunities the digital economy can unlock.

As SA commemorates Youth Month under the theme:"Youth power: Growing South Africa together in the period of COVID-19”,it is essential to continue the conversation around the importance of digital skills as a driver for growth and job creation in Africa,” saysDigify Africa.

The Youth Digital Skills Forum aims to bring together youth industry leaders to inspire and demonstrate the importance of digital skills in contributing to youth development and the economy.

“As we celebrate Youth Month in June, it’s a timely reminder that developing digital and technology skills among the continent’s young people is key to igniting economic recovery,” says Nomonde Gongxeka-Seopa, Facebook SADC’s head of public policy.

“We remain committed to investing in Africa’s young people and helping to close the digital divide between and within countries.”

Digify Africa has been offering digital skills to youth since 2011; with the support of Facebook, programmes like Digify Pro and Boost with Facebook have upskilled over 10 000 young people and SMEs across SA, Nigeria and Kenya.

The skills development organisation says its mission is to ensure young people and businesses are empowered with the right skills to participate in the digital economy.

The panellists at the Youth Digital Skills Forum will include Gongxeka-Seopa; CEO of National Youth Development Agency Waseem Carrim; Digify Africa COOQhakaza Mohare; head of IAB Education Council and MD of Hello Computer Joey Khuvutlu; and award-winning professional in inclusive impact development and founder of Art of Superwoman Olwethu Leshabane.

According to the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa, the ICT skills shortage remains one of the biggest challenges facing SA.

The industry body says SA’s ICT sector is highly innovative and entrepreneurial, presenting opportunities for significant job creation and export opportunities in the decade ahead, but the skills shortage poses a great threat to the country’s fourth industrial revolution progress.

According to the Harambee Mapping of Digital and ICT Roles and Demand for South Africa Survey, digital skills and services have the potential to pave the way for over 66 000 jobs in SA’s ICT sector, two-thirds of which are entry-level roles.

“The main objectives of this event are to inspire and inform young South Africans interested in careers in the digital space, and to showcase how digital tools can be used to promote economic recovery through entrepreneurship and job creation, especially in the period of COVID-19 which has challenged us to innovate,” says Mohare.

The Youth Digital Skills Forum will be streamed live on Digify Africa's Facebook page.

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