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Nokia looking to combat youth unemployment in Africa

Izunna Okpala

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Unemployment in South Africa remains a major issue, currently sitting at 26.50 percent, while the country’s youth unemployment is currently at a staggering 50.9 percent.

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Unemployment in South Africa remains a major issue, currently sitting at 26.50 percent, while the country’s youth unemployment is currently at a staggering 50.9 percent. Despite this, many technology companies continue to cite skills shortages as one of their biggest challenges. According to Brahim Ghribi, Head of Government Relations of Middle East & Africa at Nokia, this is not limited to developing countries and there is a dire need to close the gap between the need for and the availability of skilled individuals in the workforce.

According to Brahim Ghribi, Head of Government Relations of Middle East & Africa at Nokia, this is not limited to developing countries and there is a dire need to close the gap between the need for and the availability of skilled individuals in the workforce.

Ghribi says work needs to be done to identify the root cause of this to determine why there is a gap. “Is it because the youth quit school early and therefore lack the adequate training and skills required, or is there a mismatch between what they are being taught at school and the job market reality? As far as I’m concerned, in many cases, it is a combination of the two and this issue is not unique to South Africa. We need an urgent revision of the whole education system, drive broader access to the internet as an information and learning delivery mechanism, get the youth online and try to adapt learning added Ghribi.

He says that the rate at which technology changes requires a joint effort between the public and private sectors to find ways to allow the education system to keep up with this change. He highlighted the importance of showing the youth the many opportunities there are as often they are not aware of it.

Ghribi says young people in Africa must be given the opportunity to be innovative and be given a platform to not only expose their ideas and projects but also to find investors and financial support.

Gender diversity, particularly in the ICT sector, also needs to be a priority. “We at Nokia believe that although a lot is already being done to encourage women to enter the ICT sector, it requires an ongoing effort. As a company, we strive to have a gender balance that reflects the world around us and we support several programmes to achieve this.” The company runs a project called Strong Her, which is an employee network that promotes gender diversity. “Companies need to start internally and then, also, focus on promoting diversity externally. They should also look for the skills at a much broader scale and promote women in ICT, by getting them on board and training them with the right skills so that they have an equal opportunity.”

Nokia has also been supporting initiatives such as CodeBus Africa project, and global scale project Green Light for Girls which highlights their focus on playing their role in the change and helping African countries combat the unemployment through education.

He says the responsibility to drive this change lies with both governments and private companies. “We all have a role to play and need to join hands in terms of shaping the future of technology. This must not just be done for the sake of it, but to transform the human experience.”

Ghribi says governments need to play a role in creating a favourable environment and lay out a comprehensive social strategy that puts the youth and, more particularly girls, at the heart of their plans. “We know that most governments in Africa and in other parts of the world have national ICT plans. For the youth to truly benefit, these plans must go beyond the frontiers of telecommunications and touch every sector of the economy.”

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US inauguration: How to watch the inauguration and parade

Izunna Okpala

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Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will be sworn in as the President and Vice of the United States of America respectively. They will be along with their spouses, Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff. They will conduct a review of the military and visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. They will be joined by three former presidents and their wives, who will also be present at the swearing-in: Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Watch the live coverage below:

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A conference on blockchain and health is scheduled to be held at the Africa Blockchain Developers Call.

Izunna Okpala

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The Africa Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC) Pan-African Bootcamp on blockchain technology has declared its intention to hold a weekend conference on incorporating blockchain technology into Africa’s health sector.

In an attempt to execute comprehensive blockchain training sessions and promote the implementation of specially designed applications for different sectors in Africa, the Bootcamp, officially launched on 5 September, has taken on a host of African developers.

The Bootcamp also features virtual weekend conferences on many use-cases for blockchain. These conferences are aimed at encouraging creative and comprehensive discussions on the implementation of blockchain technology in Africa, including platform presentations by businesses and panel sessions on many Blockchain issues. The first meeting, focusing on Blockchain in Finance, took place on September 5. It featured a keynote speech given by Professor Anicia Peters, University of Namibia Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Innovation and Development.

The next conference, scheduled to take place on October 3rd, will focus on the theme: Blockchain in Health. The keynote speech will be given by Arnab Paul, President of the Kolkata Chapter in India. Several organizations and startups will also give platform presentations via their representatives based on medical use cases for blockchain technology.

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HealthPlus is experiencing a power struggle 2 years after obtaining $18 m from Alta Semper Capital

Izunna Okpala

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A press release apparently released on September 25 by the Board of HealthPlus, one of the largest integrated pharmacy chains in West Africa, confirmed that the company no longer needed the services of its founder, Bukky George, as CEO.

The decision to terminate the appointment of George came with the announcement of Chidi Okoro, the interim leader.

Okoro, a renowned pharmacist and management executive, is to take on the position of Chief Officer of Transformation. Okoro, akin to the position of a CEO, can simplify day-to-day management, help the company scale, and achieve profitability.

And a letter that appears to be from the board of HealthPlus to the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) states that George “remains a shareholder of the company, a member of the board of the company, and may engage at board level in the company’s decision-making process.”

Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond, Managing Partner & CEO, and Director of Alta Semper Capital, respectively, have signed it off.

From investment and partnership to a fight for power

Alta Semper Capital LLP is a private equity (PE) company that invests in Africa-wide healthcare and consumer businesses. In 2017, the PE company invested in Macro Pharma, a medicated cosmetics company in Egypt.

It made deals with HealthPlus and the Moroccan oncology and radiology clinic, Oncologie et Radiologie du Maroc (ODM), the following year.

The letter from Alta Semper Capital to the PCN

Source Techpoint

The HealthPlus investment was $18 million.

HealthPlus, founded by George in 1999, has expanded to more than 90 retail outlets, employing over 850 employees, including more than 150 pharmacists. In Nigeria, the company claims to be present in 11 of the 36 states in the world.

Operating branches in strategically placed suburban areas, airports, and shopping malls are also recognized.

Alta Semper Capital ‘s investment was to help HealthPlus grow its store footprint. In addition, to attract more talent, grow fulfillment centers and pursue initiatives in eCommerce.

The cash inflow, however, is said to have given the PE firm a majority stake in the company, which is one of the reasons why the company is facing problems at the moment.

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