A turning point for African economies
More than ever before Africans are turning to ICT-supported learning to grow their economies.
In 2013, the eLearning Africa Report found that 40 percent of African technology-assisted learning professionals were using ICTs specifically for skills training, up from 18 percent the previous year.
The benefit of ICT-supported learning is that it allows employers to provide vocational training to a great number of workers for little cost.
This year’s eLearning Africa, 28 – 30 May in Kampala, Uganda, will explore how technology is revolutionising learning and training across the continent, under the theme Opening Frontiers to the Future.
“Many African countries are seeking to diversify their economies and stimulate sectors such as tourism and finance, but skills shortages are preventing them from doing so”, said Rebecca Stromeyer, founder of eLearning Africa.
“eLearning will allow more and more African countries to easily train the next generation of in-demand workers”.
Innovative people and organisations across the Continent are working to fill in this “skills-gap”. Leading this movement is LEAP Africa, which has equipped more than 30,000 youth, business owners and professionals to lead positive change in their personal lives, business ventures and local communities.
Iyadunni Olubode, Executive Director of LEAP, and keynote speaker at eLearning Africa 2014, emphasises the role that using technology to support learning can play: “eLearning tools, including audio and video, are critical in reaching the Continent’s teeming population”.
Dr Bitange Ndemo, former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication and an eLearning Africa 2014 keynote speaker, believes that vocational skills often do not receive the recognition they deserve.
He said: “We have spent many years trying to focus on theory and hoping that it will translate to skills. This is a false belief.
“Countries that are successful have a strong skills development programme. In Kenya while there are many jobs, there is widespread unemployment because the youth lack the skills. This problem can be solved if on-line content in all trades, including soft skills, is widely accessible.
“Many youth are known to shun vocational training in favour of non-existent white collar jobs. There is need to encourage the youth to take up blue collar skills that offer many opportunities for training”.
eLearning Africa 2014 will bring together policy experts, educational professionals and business leaders to tackle this and other topics.
Hosted by the Republic of Uganda, the conference's wide-ranging plenaries, sessions and exhibitions will showcase the inspiring stories, innovations and research that make up today's complex picture of ICT for development, education and training in Africa.
Renowned for its vibrant, stimulating atmosphere, eLearning Africa is the place to discuss Africa's exciting future. This year's conference will bring together more than 1,500 technology and education professionals.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.