Technology

Nurture the youth to serve local and global talent needs

youth-pic

The Covid-19 pandemic spurred the rise in working from home. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

Summary

  • Value-added human capital is where we should focus our IT-enabled Services (ITeS) efforts.
  • The government should shift focus and work directly with tertiary institutions to upskill qualifying talent from diploma to degree level for at least 12 months intensely.
  • Most of our universities have adequate land that can under a well-thought-out public-private partnership provide upgraded physical housing and labs where this talent can live and work from.

In business, opportunities are discovered by connecting the dots or layering the economic model from one sector to another.

Kenya has an economic blueprint dubbed Vision 2030, which most will agree with me felt like a target in the far distance at its launch in June 2008, now less than a decade away.

The strategy was to “transform Kenya into a newly industrialising, middle-income country providing a high-quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030”.

From the popular edit of the strategy document under Pillar Four — adding value to products and services, the government was to create a science technology and innovation policy to raise the quality of teaching, mathematics, science and technology in schools, polytechnics and universities.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) featured as a core work plan with the goal for 2012 to create at least 7,500 direct jobs and set up Kenya as the top BPO destination for Africa. Financial services with “pursuit of a comprehensive remittance strategy” is highlighted as part of the ambition.

Value-added human capital is where we should focus our IT-enabled Services (ITeS) efforts. The Central Bank of Kenya tracks remittances into the country, whose volume is majorly from Kenyans in the diaspora sending ‘something’ home for either consumption or investment. From January–August 2021 we saw over $2 billion in inbounds. How can we amplify these two signals to greater economic effect?

We have our local universities churning out graduates every year with various programs by the ICT ministry to try to find local placement and internships.

There is also a campaign urging the youth to look at online work as a means to earn a living on the many platforms on the Internet. We do have a youth dividend and decent underlying infrastructure by way of digital connectivity, to enable a different approach to prosperity.

The government should shift focus and work directly with tertiary institutions to upskill qualifying talent from diploma to degree level for at least 12 months intensely.

Most of our universities have adequate land that can under a well thought out public-private partnership provide upgraded physical housing and labs where this talent can live and work from, on government-sourced but private-sector managed projects for at least 24 months, a period over, which the investment in training will be recouped into an endowment fund that should over time become a self-sustaining cycle.

This ‘andelaesque’ approach will see talent well compensated with sufficient margin to continue investment in additional infrastructure for training and operations. It will also see ICT leap forward in its contributions to our economic engine serving both local and global talent needs.