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Smart Africa hosted the inaugural Digital Skills Forum, a pan-African event promoting the development of digital skills

Organised through the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Economy (MPTEN), the Centre Africain de Recherche sur l'Intelligence Artificielle (CARIA) and the Africa Digital Academy (ADA), the event aims to highlight the importance of developing digital skills among African pupils and students, and to promote effective strategies and programs to prepare them for the digital age.

The first edition has been held for three days under the theme “Building a digital talent pipeline for Africa". The main topics addressed at this event were digital education, professional training, digital inclusion, access to infrastructure and technologies, and the promotion of entrepreneurship and digital innovation.

The forum saw the launch of two majors steps towards digitalisation namely the Smart Devices blueprint developed under the leadership of the Republic of Congo, which seeks to ensure a sustainable framework of affordable devices for Africa. The Smart Africa Youth Chapter in Congo was also launched, as a platform for education, collaboration, and empowerment, aiming to foster a new generation of tech-savvy and innovative business leaders. The Smart Africa Youth Chapter is focused specifically on equipping youth and entrepreneurs with the necessary digital competencies.

Smart Africa CEO, Lacina Koné highlighted the urgent need to bridge the digital skills gap. “Lack of relevant skills in this digital age can limit opportunities for African countries to make the most of Digital technologies as they will continue to play catch up with the rest of the world if the gap is not bridged,” Koné explained.

“To ensure that Africans are prepared for the digital jobs of the future, they must possess the necessary digital skills,” Koné added.

“The average 4.5% increase in GDP in Africa thanks to digital technology shows that this sector is making a real contribution to the development and diversification of economies. That's what this forum is all about” declared Léon Juste Ibombo, minister of posts and telecommunications and digital economy at the opening of the forum.

The event is a dynamic gathering featuring insightful panel discussions, training and master classes, digital skills experts’ keynotes, exhibitions and demonstrations, job datings and competitions and other exciting activities. Over 700 participants including representatives of government and international organisations, private sector members, students and educators, entrepreneurs attended the event.