Image: Paul Lamontagne, Chief Executive of Sagarmatha Technologies. Supplied: Ian Landsberg/ANA PHOTO
CAPE TOWN - Sagarmatha Technologies intends to invest R100m to help grow the programming skills base for Africa’s rapidly expanding digital economy.  

Five thousand young African computer programmers will be trained between 2018-2022.

 The US Bureau of Labour Statistics forecasts that employment of software developers is projected to grow 24% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 


Software developers are in high demand in a range of industries, including computer systems design, electronic product manufacturing and finance. It is estimated that in the decade to 2026, 299,500 jobs will open up in the US. 

South Africa's "rarest skills" were in the digital and technology sectors, with demands for web developers and coders far outstripping supply.

“Silicon Africa is a virtual model of the renowned Silicon Valley in the US and seeks to develop a pan-African ecosystem inclusive of governments & decision makers, universities and technical colleges, venture capitalists, NGO’s, incubators & accelerators, technology companies and most importantly, digital entrepreneurs,” said Paul Lamontagne, Chairman of Sagarmatha Technologies.

With the change in technology across all sectors, African countries urgently need young people with coding skills in order to thrive in this digital, knowledge-based global economy.

“We believe this ground-breaking initiative will lead to 5,000 learners receiving short learning programme certificates in software development, such as Java, C++, and C# programming, as well as database and web design, so they are coder-ready” said Lamontagne. 

The seismic shift of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way the world works as the steam engine, car and electricity did in previous centuries.

Applications for the first year will be limited to qualified South African learners-only, before rolling out the programme progressively into Africa.
 
For learners wishing to be part of Sagarmatha’s digital upskilling programme, the minimum requirement for admission will be a matric, high school or equivalent certificate from an accredited institution in an African country, which is acceptable to one of the partner institutions. 

It is also necessary to have a certain amount of familiarity with a personal computer.

Graduates of the programme will have the option of continuing for a second year of study in another area of software development or to benefit from a one-year membership in a collaborative workspace, incubator, accelerator or other similar accredited partner venue that is established in their region at that time. 

This will include a mentorship programme for some learners showing entrepreneurial aptitude to successfully launch a new business venture by leveraging their acquired IT skills. 

Sagarmatha’s Talent 360 platform will be extended to facilitate access to higher paying, skilled jobs for graduates of the programme as developers, testers, analysts and others. 

“Talent 360 accompanies the job seeker on the journey, all the way from completing high school, identifying the appropriate higher education, registering for a graduate programme, ensuring employment,” said Samantha Naidu, Executive at Talent 360.

“Sagarmatha believes African economies can be re-engineered by creating digital jobs”, said Lamontagne.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE