Zwart Talent Foundation, a nonprofit organization closing the growing tech talent gap, has called on African governments to tackle poverty on the continent with tech education.
The recently launched Foundation made this call through its president, Nelson Tosin Ajulo, at a recent roundtable with IT experts, legislators and technology enthusiasts.
Ajulo said in his speech: “Poverty is a problem all over the world. It is not unique to Africa. Regardless, the developed world has led us to believe that Africa is the poverty capital of the world. This is not true. Despite this, we have to find quick and practical solutions to combat endemic poverty on the continent.
“We strongly believe that the right kind of education can lift millions of underserved Africans out of poverty. Today, the right kind of education is IT or technology education. This is due to the global shift towards the digital economy. The types of jobs that exist have changed.
“Global companies are looking for software experts, coders, UX user interface designers, and systems analysts, among others. If we make efforts to train young people in technology education, they are guaranteed to get both local and international jobs to earn more and ultimately lift their families and communities out of poverty. “
The World Bank reports in its recently published Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020 that the concentration of high poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa recalls the image of a poverty belt stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia and from Mali to Madagascar. Half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa have poverty rates above 35%.
The Bank adds that these figures become even more alarming when compared to extreme poverty levels in other regions. Of the top 20 economies with estimates of poverty rates, 18 are in sub-Saharan Africa.
On what Zwarttalent is doing to tackle poverty, the president says he is training young and vulnerable Africans in IT skills so they can improve their economic situation.
“At Zwart Talent Foundation, our social innovation is that we train underserved youth in IT skills for free and within two years they become junior developers and start making money.
“Our solution is fast, efficient, and time-consuming compared to the typical education we are all familiar with.
“With this, we can lift thousands of people out of poverty. But we cannot do this alone. We need all the support we can get because with the African population growing at a geometric rate, it will reach a point where typical education will not be enough and there will be serious competition for limited resources. “