By Mr Ousman Bah (BS, MSc, MBA)
How can we not talk about digital transformation in The Gambia when our nation has been absent from the global technology revolution for over 22 years? As a technology evangelist in the IT skill development industry for so long, IIHT Gambia has a mission to compliment government efforts in ICT development. IIHT Gambia’s intervention in ICT development will greatly impact youth intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship), women empowerment, the service sectors as well as reducing 22 years of high unemployment rates in the country.
It’s time that the youth in the country understand that nothing is going to be handed over to them on” Silver platter” when it comes to getting a job. Therefore, we must change the mindset of our youths from “I can’t do it” … “I can’t afford it” to “I CAN DO IT”. Youths must confront challenges and turn them into opportunities. They should be ready to face the reality of the truth in the slogan “No Skill, No Job.” But this is way more relevant for the services sector. In the IT industry alone, most skill sets now have a shorter life span than ever. A technology relevant today may lose its appeal to newer technology in the market tomorrow. As such, there is the need to keep pace with emerging technology trends in the 21st century.
With The Gambia lagging behind in terms of IT infrastructure and digital transformation, our problem is not the scarcity of jobs but inadequate IT skills. With less than 10% of our workforce with the requisite IT skills, there is an opportunity to turn The Gambia into a sub-regional IT hub through the provision of IT infrastructure and IT skills development.
A unique opportunity Gambia has is its status as one of the English-speaking counties in sub-Saharan Africa, as most IT languages are written in English. We are also aware that, automation will probably eat approximately up to 1.8 million jobs by 2022 in both manufacturing and service sectors. The good news is that newer cutting-edge technologies like Big Data, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Virtualization, & Machine Learning, Networking and Cybersecurity will produce as many as 4.5 million additional jobs by 2024.
Last year IIHT Gambia entered into a partnership with the Youth empowerment Project known as “YEP” in collaboration to provide Skilled training to Gambian youths including returnees. The 160 scholarships that were awarded to these youths, and they have successfully completed their six- months programs in their respective fields of studies such as: Diploma in “Network Support Technician”, Diploma in “Graphic Design, Diploma in “Web Development” and Diploma in “IT Technical Support”.
We are excited to share our success with the nation about some, 83 graduates have secured full time employment or internship in versions institutions. We can say more than 50% of our graduates are gainfully employed which is a great milestone in contributing to the Gambia’s National Development Plan as capacity building is a central pillar in the National Development Plan and to create jobs and address Unemployment.
It is time for parents to motivate and inspire their children to make them believe that they can achieve their dreams. They also need to understand that success requires dedication, sacrifice and discipline. This is where IIHT Gambia is ready and prepared to help them succeed, by restructuring its mode of operations with a blend of technology and education. Are you ready?