CAPE TOWN, South Africa — “Africa’s large youth population and positive economic growth potential primes the continent to play a leading role in the Digital Economy. However, successfully navigating the complexities presented by vast amounts of data in today’s hyper-connected world requires excellent Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. We urgently need to address the scarcity of STEM skills among our youth.”
This was the word from Robert Enslin, President of Global Customer Operations and Executive Board member of SAP at the inauguration of the SAP Auditorium at the Cape Town Science Centre today. He was joined in a panel discussion by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, who stressed the importance of science and technology education in building a globally competitive modern economy. “Science and technology matter because the world needs to devise new solutions to sustainable development, so as to provide food, energy and security to our communities. We are short of skills and must fill the gap,” commented Pandor at the event that took place during National Science Week.
According to data from the World Economic Forum, Africa has the largest youth demographic in the world, with the continent’s working-age population expected to double to one billion people over the next 25 years. However, less than 1% of African children leaving school have basic mathematical and science skills.
Enslin said it is critical for forward-looking businesses invested in the future to partner with government and educational institutions to foster a culture of learning and skills development among youth. “We need to collectively start addressing the serious skills shortage by creating opportunities for youth to learn new skills that will make them marketable when it comes time to seek employment. For the next decade, Africa will add 11 million people to its workforce every single year. As the fastest-growing digital consumer market, and with a wealth of young labour, Africa is perfectly poised to take a lead in the Digital Economy – but we need to ensure our youth are properly trained, especially in the ICT sphere, and prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that the Digital Economy can offer.”
A group of children from West Riding Primary School in Cape Town also showed off their newly-learned technology skills at today’s event with a live Africa Code Week coding demonstration. Julie Cleverdon, Director of the Cape Town Science Centre, says these kinds of interactive experiences help to foster a strong passion for math and science among the youth. “The Centre offers a platform for science and education awareness that is used by many other organisations and NGOs that are involved with educating our youth. We have enjoyed SAP’s invaluable support since 2011 via a host of initiatives, including volunteering, sponsorship and mentorship.”
Enslin added that SAP recognizes the need to contribute towards upskilling the youth of Africa and is working with governments, schools, science centers and other businesses across the continent to provide access to solid STEM education that will help contribute towards building a sustainable future for the African continent. To this end, SAP also recently announced Africa Code Week that will take place across 15 countries from 1 to 10 October. The programme, which is a foundation for SAP’s Skills for Africa initiative, will see an estimated 20 000 children across the continent ranging in age from 8 to 24 years, participating in software coding workshops.
“We strongly believe that this integrated approach to skills development, and ultimately job creation, will create a new generation of talented African software developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists who can drive the innovation agenda on the continent for the benefit of all who call Africa home,” concluded Enslin.
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 291,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
2015 SAP SE. All rights reserved. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.
Note to editors:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.
For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
SAP Africa (within SA): 0800 981334
SAP Africa (outside SA): +27 11 235 6045
For more information, press only:
Antonia Stafford Ashton, SAP Africa, +27 (21) 528 1700, firstname.lastname@example.org, CAT
Nicole Spruijt, marcusbrewster PR, +27 (11) 022 971, email@example.com, CAT