Africa needs 1.3 million IT pros, says Cisco exec

Africa requires 1.3 million networking professionals by 2012 for technology in the region to operate effectively, according to a Cisco official.

South Africa-based Cisco Systems area academic manager Elfie Hamid said in Lusaka, Zambia, recently that Africa is facing a massive shortage of ICT, both in industry and training institutions. To make effective use of ICT, Africa needs to train 1.3 million professionals in the region in the next four years, he said.

Cisco is held its annual conference here for all of its network academies in Southern Africa, including Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi.

The conference is dubbed African Networking Academy Safari 2008. After the conference, Cisco will hold instructor training courses for network academies.

“Cisco targeted the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) so that new ideas and experiences could be shared on how to improve IT systems in the region,” said Hamid at the conference earlier this week.

Zambia Education Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa agreed that vigorous training of IT professionals is needed to overcome the technology skills shortage. Cisco conference attendees should appreciate the difficult terrain Africa is in.

In March, Cisco launched an ICT training initiative aimed at addressing the IT skills shortage in Africa and strengthening its own workforce.

The initiative, under the auspices of the company’s Global Talent Acceleration Program (GTAP), will first be implemented in South Africa this year before being rolled out to other countries in Africa.

The entire African region is experiencing tremendous IT growth, but finding the right talent to support the expansion is becoming a critical challenge for governments and organizations.

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