Africa must invest in STEM to steer tech revolution


Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFRICAN countries have been encouraged to invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills development so their economies to benefit fully from the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and the data economy is ushering.

Industries in the continent also have to fully embrace trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Enabling the utilisation of these, however, requires two pivotal focuses,” explained Adesh Nathalal, Education Manager at SAS in South Africa.

“The first is investment in infrastructure. The second is STEM skills development, so that African economies have the core competencies needed to participate in the data economy.”

The expert said that by 2030, the above needed to be accomplished to ensure African economies can leapfrog development cycles and be at the forefront 4IR.

It is previously reported that in Africa, less than 2 percent of students, aged under 18, finish school with vital STEM skills.

However, as more learners are attending secondary schools than in previous years, there seems to be an opportunity to change this.

“Investing in STEM skills begins in the classroom, but it does not end there. Organisations need to do their part as well,” Nathalal said.

SAS has also noted an appetite for learning 4IR-relevant skills.

When South Africa went into lockdown last year, SAS made most of its training offerings available online and free to use for 30-days, through the Academy for Data Science and SAS Learning Subscription.

Nathalal urged the public and private sectors to collaborate and ensure a cogent plan was in place to leverage and scale up the 4IR talent that
is already present.

“Doing so, along with the formal education sector and organisations driving AI, machine learning and cloud skills, will enable us to vibrantly participate in the 4IR and sustainably grow industries and economies well into the future.”

– CAJ News





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