Nurturing talent in Africa will be essential to transform the continent into a global economic powerhouse while at the same time maintaining peaceful development. As Marco Annunziata, Chief Economist and Shlomi Kramer, Senior Economist at General Electric (GE), say: "Advancements in skills and productivity are an essential bulwark against potential social instability."
One company that stands out in its focus and drive towards developing skills in Africa is, in fact, GE. GE is a digital industrial company that serves customers in many different industries--including aviation, transportation, power, the oil and gas sector and renewable energy. It is one of the world's leading infrastructure development companies and understands the benefits in developing talent at home.
"We are a global company that operates locally, which means that we want to develop local talent close to our customers to deliver the best results. It is therefore a priority for us to build a strong workforce to power Africa's growth," says Bianca Tulumello, Senior Executive Human Resources Manager for GE Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is well known for its young and ambitious population, a burgeoning middle class and stellar economic growth that will all combine to help propel the region to the next level of economic development. At the same time, growth in sub-Saharan Africa's urban areas is at an annual 3.6%--double the world average, and according to UN estimates, by 2025, the region will have approximately a quarter of the global population aged 24 and younger.
Investment in developing human capital will help build a society reliant on skills and services as opposed to unreliable and volatile businesses based solely on extraction of natural resources. "From our point of view, the sectors that need more funding are engineering, digital technology, supply chain and services so this is where a lot of our focus lies," says Tulumello. "GE is in Africa for the long term."
But this investment will have to be targeted. "[There is a] shortage of technical skills in the workforce," says Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa. "Only 11% of African university students are studying subjects with potentially high employability, while 70% are enrolled in areas that have huge cohorts of unemployed graduates."
From East to West
GE's focus spans the whole of the continent with projects and investment in countries from Ethiopia in the East and Nigeria in the West
In Nigeria, GE has...