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THE AFRICAN SKILLS GAP

As Africa’s economies continue to grow and attract investment, the lack of appropriately skilled workers is widely recognized as a critical challenge for most companies. The need for skilled local talent is imperative to the sustained growth and success of their businesses. While many companies have innovative programs to tackle skills shortages, CEOs are increasingly looking to collaborative efforts and cross-sector partnerships to improve their workforce.

Without skilled employees, companies are less productive and growth is significantly hindered. All companies surveyed through IGD identified skills gaps as being an important issue to address in order to enhance the success of their businesses. As companies expand into new markets in Africa, it is imperative to address skills gaps to ensure sustainable business success, profitability, and enhanced economic growth. Developing local workforces is a vital issue for Africa’s development and the growth of African economies, not only for fostering the growth of major industries, but also to attract new investment to the continent. There is huge potential for businesses to tap into Africa’s booming youth population. The region has the youngest population worldwide; twenty percent of Africa’s population is between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. While other regions are rapidly aging, Africa presents an opportunity for growth in terms of new customers and personnel.

There is significant opportunity for private sector companies to lead the way in addressing the skills challenge by committing to initiatives that properly build local workforce capabilities, thereby delivering real returns, both financially and socially, whilst improving local capacity to operate.

SOFT SKILLS SHORTAGE

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Businesses observe that soft skills are lacking at every level despite the technical qualifications gleaned from a university degree. These soft skills are key to success and adaptability in the formal economy, and companies should work in collaboration with each other and IGD to pursue cost-cutting, sustainable and impactful solutions to address skills shortages.

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