The continent’s elite met from May 10 to 13 in Kigali to talk about technology as part of the Transform Africa summit. The objective of the event is to explore avenues for making technology the engine of inclusive development in the countries of the continent. An ambition that is only possible after a review of the education and training system.
In the presence of African heads of state, such as Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (Mali), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger) or even the Zambian vice-president Inonge Wina and the Prime Minister of Sao Tome, Patrice Trovoada, the president Rwandan Paul Kagame asserted that poor connectivity in Africa should be seen as an opportunity “for stronger public and private collaboration”.
For him, technology is a powerful framework for bringing diverse actors together to define challenges and find solutions. “If technology reinforces divisions, rather than equalizing opportunities, then we are not exploiting it well. Access to technological information should also not distinguish the rich and the poor. As long as women and girls are late, we are not on the right track. We have to live up to the promise of technology to connect the divisions rather than deepen them, ”he said.
Rethinking the education and training system
Africa needs to strengthen the inclusiveness of technology. An orientation that is only possible through an adequate training offer. In this sense, the Gabonese Minister of the Digital Economy and the Post, Alain-Claude Bilie, estimated that “in addition to partnerships with international institutions of higher education, countries should also invest in strengthening national training courses ”. The idea is to be able, in the long term, to revisit some of the outdated programs used by African countries when acquiring ICT skills.
But is it just universities and higher education institutions? For the vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Takao Toda, the answer is “no”. In his opinion, it is time to review basic education curricula to ensure that students are prepared for the curricula of higher education institutions.
Develop local skills
It is obvious that reforms of this kind will take time to become a reality. Precious time that the continent does not have in the face of the accelerated pace of technology development (and replacement), but above all the urgent need for digital inclusion of African populations. Worse still, the “excessive” recourse to external skills for trades relating to technology does not allow a transfer of useful skills to the countries of the continent. It is in this vein that it has been advocated that African societies participate in the incubation and development of skills across Africa.