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Past Event

Digitalization and digital skills gaps in Africa

Past Event

The spread of digital and emerging technologies is changing the nature of work around the world. It is also set to drastically affect the future of jobs and skills in Africa, with wide-ranging potential effects on economic competitiveness and development. Yet, despite the significant promises of digital technologies for Africa’s development, and the palpable risks of falling behind the frontiers of technology, there is limited research that unpacks the implications of digital skills gaps for employment and competitiveness.

On May 31, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative, in partnership with the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, hosted a virtual discussion on the findings from a new report, Digitalization and digital skills gaps in Africa: An empirical profile. The discussion highlighted the broad analytical implications of the report for Africa, and then focused on the specific case study of South Africa.

The online event featured a high-level panel of leading experts and academics, who also offered insights and recommendations on policy pathways for bridging Africa’s digital skills gap to compete in an increasingly interconnected global economy.  As part of the discussion, the panelists sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the level of digitization in Africa?
  • To what extent is the level of digitization in Africa ahead or behind that of other regions?
  • How can we empirically anchor or measure digital skills demand, supply and the skills gap?

After the program, panelists took audience questions. Viewers submitted questions for the virtual panel by emailing and via Twitter @BrookingsGlobal by using #DigitalSkillsAfrica.


Welcome remarks

Opening remarks


Session 1: Measuring Africa’s digital skills gap

Zaakhir Asmal

Research Officer, Development Policy Research Unit - University of Cape Town

Christopher Rooney

Junior Researcher, Development Policy Research Unit - University of Cape Town

Coffee break

Session 2: Bridging Africa’s digital skills gap

Closing remarks

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