Johannesburg — A unique opportunity exists to harness the skills in the African diaspora and apply these to contribute to the growth of economies across the continent. Considering that the population of Africans in the diaspora is estimated at more than 165 million people, it is easy to see the value in those numbers.
“We have a real opportunity now, especially as Africa has shrugged off its ‘basket case’ mantle and more countries and companies see the latent potential on the continent,” says Max Fuzani, SAP Africa’s University Alliances Manager.
“The repatriation of skills is pivotal to the long-term prosperity of Africa and its people, with a window of opportunity over the next five years in which to attract people back to their birthplace so they can contribute first-hand to this revival.”
Recognising the potential of the human capital resident in other parts of the world, SAP Africa is supporting a programme to provide the tools and qualifications that will enable expats to return home and make a contribution. The University Alliances is collaborating with the DAVOC (Draw a Vision of Cameroon Conference) in Bonn, Germany, to drive this initiative.
The conference, hosted from 6–8 May, attracted delegates from Canada, USA, Germany, Italy, England, Belgium, Cyprus, Holland, Morocco, China, Switzerland, and France.
The attendances of the Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon in Germany, SE Jean-Marc Mpay – who advised the Cameroonian delegation to support the SAP University Alliance and to help it settle in Africa; the General Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Suzanne Ebelle, who acknowledged the role played by SAP Africa in ICT in Africa; several high civil servants from the presidency of the republic of Cameroon and from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training was indicative of the importance of the event.
Beside the Cameroonian authorities and other representatives of international communities, SAP Africa, which sponsored the event, was highly represented by Bern Kraus, Chief Operating Officer of emerging economies, who highlighted in his presentation the benefits of SAP Solutions for the least developed economies, Stefan Schulz from the Supervisory Board, and Technology adviser Heino Schrader, Director of SAP University Alliance EMEA, whose presentation covered an introduction to the SAP University Alliance program; Jerome Monteu Nana from SAP AG and Chairman of the DAVOC organising committee, who highlighted the great job done by SAP Africa to contribute and boost the development of the continent. Monteu Nana emphasised: “Graduating students in Africa through SAP University Alliance will gain an understanding of how technology can facilitate integrated business processes and strategic thinking, which will strongly improve their chances of employment.”
The focus of the conference was on investment and entrepreneurship, with the SAP University Alliances initiative featured in the programme.
“We have partnered with the organisation to actively support entrepreneurship and ICT skills development in the country by reaching out to Cameroonians in the diaspora who share our vision for the continent,” says Fuzani. “The partnership aims to facilitate skills development through our University Alliances programme that provides training and certification from school level right through to tertiary level.
“The training is not specific to SAP products and has been successfully implemented in numerous countries globally, with eight countries in Africa already part of our University Alliance network. Through this, we aim to impart basic business process and management principles that can be applied in any business, although predicated on the SAP methodology and systems.
“The thinking is that once people have acquired the necessary skills, they will be more confident to go into business for themselves armed with this knowledge, or that they pursue opportunities in the SAP ecosystem based on their initial exposure through the training,” he adds.
Fuzani adds that the Draw a Vision of Cameroon Conference is one of the platforms to communicate the opportunities presented through the University Alliances programme, and is the precursor to extending its benefits to other countries in the region.
“This is line with our drive to expand our business across the Africa region, and the collaboration with Cameroonian organisations and authorities is but the first step for us. We intend using the interaction and experience to establish a best practice to expand the concept into other countries.”
Fuzani says the French and Portuguese-speaking countries are a particular area of focus for these plans. The University Alliances programme is already active in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software(*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 95 000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP”. For more information, visit http://www.sap.com.