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Computer Sciences, Information Science, *training
Information and Communication Technology will play a critical role in sustaining the high growth rates experienced by African economies in the last decade. Investment in the ICT sector enables the creation of high quality jobs and acts as an enabling technology for other key industries such as agriculture, mining, finance, health and education. ‘New Software Economy’ models mean international location and company scale are less relevant and enable small organisations to compete globally in niche markets. Unlike many traditional industries which have heavy infrastructure requirements, the key resource of the ICT Sector is its people and the knowledge, skills and competencies they possess. Relatively small scale investments in developing the ICT skills of the workforce can pay rich dividends in economic returns.
The transformation of Ireland from a protectionist agri-economy in the 1970’s to a present day global technology hub means the ‘Irish Experience’ is something which can be heavily drawn upon by emerging economies as they seek to develop their own ICT sectors. Tanzania has the advantage of having gone ‘straight to mobile’ and to new software economy models. It can become the software gateway to Swahili-speaking Africa, a major market of 140 million people. The massive expansion of the Tanzanian higher education system is providing a greenfield site which has the potential to produce high quality graduates with the right skillsets for the global ICT industry.
This Skills Needs research was based on similar international methodologies and was undertaken in July and August 2013 through the use of online surveys of ICT companies, interviews with key informants in industry, education and government and by analysing social media and jobs websites. As such it is not trends based and can at best provide a snapshot of the state of the Tanzanian ICT Sector at this point in time. The key findings indicate that there is a significant and vibrant ICT sector in Tanzania and it is estimated that it employs upwards of 12,000 people in over 80 companies. A third of these companies have been established in the last 5 years indicating a strong ‘start-up’ culture. Almost all organisations surveyed indicated that they had hired at least one new ICT practitioner in the last 2 years with one third of these stating that they hired more than 10. Almost all organisations indicated they would have further vacancies for ICT practitioners in the next 2 years with 40% indicating that they expected 10 or more vacancies to arise.
Like most countries however Tanzania is experiencing a shortage of ICT skills due to a mismatch between the needs of industry and the skills of ICT graduates. The single most important message from this report for education and training providers is that the emphasis needs to shift from what students are expected to know to what they can do. In this regard both the ICT industry and Tanzanian education institutes involved in teaching ICT skills need to come together and form a viable partnership to pave the way forward and harness the full economic potentials of ICT’s. Such a partnership ensures that education and training programmes are designed and delivered in a way which meets the needs of the ICT sector.
Lillis, D., Mtenzi, F., Mauricaite, D., Said, J. and Manifold, P. Skills Needs of the ICT Sector in Tanzania. Presented at the First Tanzanian ICT Summit in November 2013 http://www.ahisec.com/TanzaniaICTSummit/
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