In the last few years, Africa has welcomed the global heads of some of the world’s most prominent technology companies – and it is fair to assume that they are not coming for the safari tours or the jollof rice. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and, more recently, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, have all visited the continent to gauge the future of their respective businesses, and how they might best impact or capitalise on the continent’s burgeoning interest in digital technology.
The outcome of many of these companies’ relationships with Africa has been a persistent brain drain – a situation where the most promising and exposed engineers, coders, technicians and developers are offered positions outside of the continent, leaving Africa at a distinct disadvantage with a large population of young people who are bright and interested but lacking the infrastructure or access to technology that would give them a competing edge in the forthcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This is what makes the VMware ‘Virtualize Africa’ programme all the more commendable. A programme that runs under their VMware IT Academy designed specifically for preparing Africans to lead in the digital future.
Championed by Jackie Barker-Weeks, the Global Program Manager of the VMware IT Academy Team, ably supported by Thomas MacKay (Global Director of Worldwide Readiness, Assessment, Certification & Enablement (WWRACE)), and Vincent Herreman, Senior Manager, VMware IT Academy, the VMware IT Academy and its ‘Virtualize Africa’ programme is truly one of a kind.
VMware is empowering a growing young African population to confidently enter the digital workforce by creating a training programme that takes the student from the very basics of cloud computing to becoming a VMware Certified Professional, a globally recognised certification. Achieving this requires working with the grassroots as well as organisations that facilitate learning amongst the youth. This is where the African Union Commission comes in.
The AU’s science and technology division, under the able stewardship of Her Excellency, Prof. Sarah Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, has committed itself to contributing to quality and relevant education responsive to the needs of Africa. It is doing this by leveraging technology to accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovative-led, knowledge-based economy. Setting ambitious and laudable goals, the Commission has embarked on the “1 Million by 2021” initiative, a drive that seeks to concretely provide opportunities in the key areas of Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Engagement (The 4Es) for a million African Youth by the year 2021.
A meeting of like minds, therefore, this MOU signing means that VMware will work with the African Union’s considerable authority in convening the educational and technology ministries of their 55 member states to cascade cutting edge ICT education down to the youth population. This helps to create a workforce that can compete globally and gain the knowledge, tools and ability to create local solutions using innovative technology.
The MoU was signed by VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger along with Maurizio Carli, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Services. Her Excellency, Prof. Agbor signed on behalf of the African Union.
In her speech following the signing, she expounded on the importance of this merger to the future of work on the continent as VMware’s expertise blends seamlessly with the African youth’s inquisitive mind and desire to do more and be more.
Initiatives such as these will undoubtedly create the long-lasting solutions Africa needs to grow, thrive and excel in the coming years, and I, for one, welcome them.
CEO, VN Sync
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