As Africa gets increasingly swept into the tsunami of global digital transformation, it will need to produce some 30 million graduates a year by 2050, if the continent must excel in the project economy.
The business development leader for Africa at Project Management Institute (PMI), George Asamani, who disclosed this said Africa is facing a reality in which technology is accelerating faster than organisations and people, adding that traditional work patterns are falling away, and an economy driven by projects is ascending, shocking many people with the accelerated pace of change.
“As these changes are taking place, Africa is facing a future in which it is expected that the continent will produce some 30 million graduates a year by 2050. Therefore, education, its delivery, and effectiveness will become focal points,” Asamani added.
He said one of the areas that COVID-19 heavily impacted and one that is likely to carry long-term consequences is access to education and the enhancement of skills where the focus is on developing professionals who can deliver complex projects in an increasingly distributed environment, adding that it has also been the dominant force in creating a new work ecosystem in which project management and power skills have become vital.
This has compelled business and society to respond by adopting digital transformation and embracing a project-based approach to their deliverables, Asamani said, adding that, at the forefront of those that must adapt are institutes of higher learning.
With African universities facing challenges on the content and delivery of education in a digital world, transforming education will require partnerships with the likes of PMI, a global non-profit membership association, to help meet a future tide of demand for skills and leadership, he disclosed. “The emphasis, as identified by global authorities, is that four out of five companies surveyed are looking for people who are leaders, critical thinkers and decision-makers, and value continuous learning. These are the skills espoused by PMI and valuable for those preparing themselves for the competitive workplace,” says Asamani.
He said PMI response has included offering free curricula and resources to universities designed on a ‘faculty by faculty’ basis geared to meeting global accreditation (GAC) standards, and the second leg of their academic resources is a research funding project that offers $50 000 to selected recipients.
“Giving a practical slant to their involvement is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification offered to students to enable them in the project management industry and connect with professionals already active in the sphere.
‘Projects are already underway with Mount Kenya University in Kenya and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, where PMI global professional volunteers from the US, Mexico, India, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa are mentoring first-year BCom students.
“One of our prime focuses through the PMI Education Foundation and chapter volunteers is providing skills training and mentoring to colleges and universities. It is at these institutions where there has been sustained demand for courses and degree programmes in project management to be offered,” added Asamani.