In Africa, as nowhere else in the world, technology is improving people’s lives – especially through mobile services and applications. With minimal fixed line phone infrastructure, the continent has embraced the opportunity to leapfrog existing technologies, becoming a world leader in the delivery of such services.
From off-grid solar power to mobile money solutions for the unbanked, technology is helping to solve key development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. Across the continent, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are using their understanding of the needs of their communities to innovate in order to solve problems and drive sustainable growth.
Whilst we all know that technology can transform Africa, the competition for tech talent is ferocious and the talent crunch is one of the top three risks for companies today. Ask any CEO what his or her biggest challenge is, and the answer will probably be finding and hiring exceptional leadership tech talent.
PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, released in January 2019 confirms this, with no less than 79% of global CEOs saying they were concerned about the availability of key tech skills. Among African business leaders this figure jumped to 87%, with 45% noting that they were “extremely concerned” for their organisation.
The key leadership message from this study was clear. Africa needs to act and now.
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There is time to mitigate the risk, but to do so organisations must make human capital strategies a key priority. They need to consider the impact of emerging technologies right across their value chain, from strategy to execution, and then ensure that they prepare their team to be fit for purpose taking steps now to educate, train and upskill their existing workforce, anticipating future talent gaps.
What’s at stake? As markets shift and rapidly changing technologies transform businesses, companies that don’t invest in evolving will fall behind.
Africa has already begun its tech human capital strategy, as the availability and increase in tech start-up funding on the continent has massively increased. This has encouraged many young people to venture into the tech space with a boost in the number of fellowship and mentorship programs designed to shape and mould young tech savvy Africans into elite tech experts.
Young people are Africa’s greatest asset and its future. Investing in the next generation of African leaders will accelerate the development of the African continent. Given the right prospects and opportunities to strengthen their tech skills and talents, African youth can transform Africa – and, indeed, the world, ultimately filling the talent crunch in tech.
Is your organisation and leadership aligned to inspire the new generation? Here at Executives in Africa, we believe we have identified the key behind hiring and retaining the right leaders to inspire this talent and unlock the potential of your business. If this is key to the future success of your organisation, then please get in touch. We would be happy to share with you our thoughts.
Nicki Halle, Executive Search Consultant, at email@example.com