Tech-savvy youth could bridge the gap in Africa’s cybersecurity skills

15667106783 f89db7bc6e zYoung people were encouraged to consider cybersecurity-focused careers to address the widening skills gap and tackle unemployment

This was highlighted at the World Youth Skills Day celebrated annually on 15 July. It signifies a day where rising unemployment among the youth is emphasised and the steps that need to be taken to curb this challenge globally proposed.

According to the United Nations, in the next decade, at least 475mn new jobs need to be created to absorb the 73mn youth currently unemployed and the 40mn new annual labour market entrants globally.

For Africa, the statistics are just as staggering as it has the largest population of youth in the world, with approximately 200mn on the continent aged between 15 and 24 years.

Riaan Badenhorst, general manager for Kaspersky in Africa, said rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies, making active youth engagement critical to sustainable development globally.

“Ironically, we are also facing a skills shortage in many sectors, especially when it comes to IT and the cybersecurity space. Young IT enthusiasts, however, could hold the key to not only plugging the widening cyber skills gap but also decreasing the overall youth unemployment rate,” he added.

Accordingly to Environmental, social and governance (ESG) annual IT survey, in 2018-2019, cybersecurity skills topped the list with 53 per cent of global survey respondents reporting a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills at their organisation.

Frost and Sullivan forecast a 1.5mn shortfall of cybersecurity professionals by the year 2020.

The firm also predicted that companies and public sector organisations will need six million security professionals by 2019 but only 4.5mn will have the necessary qualifications.

Badenhorst said combined efforts by industry and education were needed to enthuse young people about taking up cybersecurity-focused careers.

“Through a combination of education and learning on the job, we need to nurture and entice young people into the profession before both the skills and the unemployment gaps widen even further,” the executive stated.

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