After a successful three-month intensive digital training and certification programme based on SAP S/4HANA Financial Accounting and SAP Activate Project Management, SAP Skills for Africa today hosted its first set of 22 graduates in Nigeria at a ceremony held in Lagos. SAP Skills for Africa is designed to train and certify young graduate students with the aim of providing public and private sector organizations with critical digital skills to drive digital transformation and growth in key economic hubs across the continent. The program is part of SAP’s ongoing commitment to closing the skills gap and runs beyond Africa, in a total of 22 countries across the globe, as SAP’s Young Professional Program. Globally, the programme has trained more than 2130 graduates since its inception in 2012.
Commending SAP Africa on this laudable objective, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, the Commissioner for Science and Technology in Lagos State, said:
“Technology is a key driver of efficiency in any successful organizationand SAP Africa’s resolve to be at the forefront of bridging the digital divide in Nigeria is commendable. SAP Skills for Africa offers great synergies with our broader government-led efforts to drive digital transformation and establish globally-competitive research facilities for the promotion of innovation, research and development in science and ICT, as well as the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills development.”
The scope of government efforts necessitates the establishment of effective public-private partnerships to ensure effective resource management, expertise utilization, and the provision of high-quality and timely services.
“We call on our private sector partners to drive sustainable digital skills development in the communities in which they operate to ensure we jointly build a bright future for all Nigeria’s citizens in the digital age. Building a great digital workforce is beneficial not only to the private sector but to the entire nation, especially as our country and the continent as a whole makes strides toward becoming active players in the future economy – an economy that is likely to be dominated by digital skills and technologies.”
Nigeria’s digital divide is well-documented: according to the International Telecommunications Union, the country had only seven PCs per 1 000 residents (for a 0.7% PC penetration rate) in 2004. By 2016, this had grown to 11%, but it remains prohibitively low, severely limiting opportunities for digital skills development for most of its more than 190 million citizens. According to SAP Africa’s Managing Director for West Africa, Pedro Guerreiro, these challenges are insurmountable without all stakeholders working together to address the country’s digital skills divide
. “SAP Africa’s partnership approach prioritizes the facilitation of digital transformation to empower local communities with the skills and tools they need to build bright futures in this exponential era. The terrific response from local graduates points to a growing need and appetite for greater exposure to some of the world’s most pervasive business applications, as well as the employment opportunities that are unlocked with the acquisition of skills and certification in such applications.”
The first-ever SAP Skills for Africa programme in Nigeria was supported by Shell Nigeria, Rufus Alexander Consulting Limited (A WYZE Group Company), Thamani Consulting and Serve Consulting. All 22 graduates are now Certified SAP Associate Consultants, ready to embark on their professional career journey with these organizations and beyond. According to Bolarinwa Onaolapo, Nigeria Content Industry Collaboration and Advocacy Manager at Shell Nigeria, the entry of high-skilled local graduates will provide a powerful boost to the organization’s local skills capacity.
“Access to deep, relevant digital skills will be one of the defining features of tomorrow’s successful companies. As one of Nigeria’s most active private sector players, Shell Nigeria welcomes the newly-skilled graduates and anticipate their entry to the 21st-century workforce with excitement.”