Oracle Launches Capacity-Building Programme to Close IT Skills Gap in Africa
Oracle Corporation today announced an initiative designed to enrich and increase the skills capacity of IT practitioners in Africa. The four-pronged programme was devised as a response to the rapid adoption of new technologies by governments and businesses in Africa, exacerbating the shortage of suitably skilled practitioners to use the systems to best advantage.

"In the emerging economic order, basic computer literacy means the ability not only to use software, but also to modify or create; in other words, to programme," said Dr. Helen Gichohi, Managing Director of Equity Group Foundation. "For them to compete internationally we must also raise their ICT competencies to global standards and keep them intellectually curious, creative and motivated to critically think about their surroundings."

According to Oracle, the dramatic advancement of technology over the past five years has resulted in a gap in IT competencies and skills availability. Organisations in Africa are adopting new technologies at a rate which is outstripping the availability of appropriately qualified staff.

"Today IT holds the promise to promote social inclusion, combat corruption, expand the digital economy and enable stronger links between citizens and governments, businesses and customers, NGOs and the communities they serve," said Alfonso Di Ianni, Senior Vice President, Oracle East Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. "They can do this and at the same time dramatically reduce costs and improve efficiency. However for technology to support such transformation, organisations must have ready access to people capable of setting up and maintaining these systems."

Consisting of four elements – employee readiness, ecosystem readiness, workforce readiness and youth readiness, Oracle is reaching out to governments, the private sector and non-profit organisations to implement a long term skills strategy that will help fulfil demand for relevant IT skills.

"Building a competitive pool of IT-skilled youth in the state is a priority for Lagos State," said Governor Babatunde Fashola(SAN). "To successfully achieve this goal, it takes multi-stakeholder support and long term collaboration with organisations such as Oracle who share our deepest commitment to building skills and creating exciting job opportunities for the youth of Lagos. We are off to a good start and look forward to increasing that impact in the coming months."