Kenya Trade Ministry partnership to bridge digital skills gap

Kenya Government has partnered with Stanbic Kenya Foundation and Microsoft Kenya to impart over 50,000 entrepreneurs with digital skills.

The partnership signed between the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development and Stanbic Kenya Foundation is going to enhance the employability of MSMEs and Kenyan citizens through digital upskilling.

The partnership role to address digital skills gap.

It will see private sector players address a digital skills gap within the market through the rich digital learning and skilling Initiative. The programme will target individuals who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 economic downturn. Stanbic Bank and Microsoft Kenya will roll out the programme across the various counties in Kenya with support from the Ministry and its supporting state agencies that will see a total of 1,000 government employees upskilled and seconded to the program as instructors. The program expects to place 2,000 youth into employment by the end of 2021.

Speaking during the launch of the partnership, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty C. Maina said, “The digital landscape is transforming rapidly, and Kenya must adapt to the new changes to keep the citizens employable. The Kenya Government believes technology will play a key role in transforming the economy and creating employment. In this regard, we welcome the private sector in supporting the government’s efforts to advance our digital strategy, particularly with regards to Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development. This partnership between the Ministry, Stanbic Bank Kenya and Microsoft will go along in enhancing the government’s investments in the capacity building and adoption of digital technologies which will give the country a competitive advantage.”

The global labour market will need around 150 million new tech jobs over the next five years, with many other traditional jobs becoming tech-enabled. Collective action must be taken right away to stem the employment impacts of the pandemic or further social and economic disparity, coupled with an ever-widened skilling gap will be experienced. This impact will stretch beyond the workforce, creating a systemic effect on the ability of companies, industries, and even countries to effectively respond and recover, let alone reimagine their economy in a post-pandemic world.

COVID -19

In the advent of COVID-19, several institutions and organizations have changed their business models and turning to digital platforms to stay connected with their customers and other key stakeholders.

Kenya, like many other African economies, will experience a surge in digital skills in the near future. With the growing youth population, governments are turning towards private sector players to support in building their capacity and contributing towards helping the economy recover from the impact caused by the pandemic.

The partnership serves as a demonstration of the role that private sector players can have in driving economic growth by partnering with government institutions in their efforts in building the capacity of the nation.