by Amanda McKeon
SAP is known for its world-class software that helps companies around the globe run their businesses better. Now the company has its eye on a bigger goal — to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Very unlike the usual ambitions of large-scale enterprises.
Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP’s co-CEO, recently visited Johannesburg, South Africa to announce the launch of a skills development program called “Skills for Africa.” The program is designed help develop information and communications technology skills for African students, giving them opportunities that were previously out of reach. More so than just empowering students, the larger goal is to improve Africa’s economic growth and infrastructure development.
Since many areas do not have access to fast Internet speeds (or have an Internet connection at all), the majority of Skills for Africa training will take place in the classroom and through e-learning materials. The program is predominately designed for self-study so students can learn on their own time and in the way that works best for them.
The program’s pilot phase successfully kicked off in Kenya in the fall of 2012, with over 100 students enrolled. Over the next few years, SAP will roll out the program to students in South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, and Angola. Some of these countries have unemployment rates as high as 48%, so the hope is the program will bring those numbers down dramatically.
Skills for Africa sets SAP apart from its competitors. It will be very exciting to see what effects the program will have over the next few years.