MTN launches a digital skills hub to reduce the staggering unemployment rate in South Africa

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December 13, 2023
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2 min read
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  • MTN South Africa has launched a digital skills hub to address the country's staggering unemployment rate, which stood at 31.9% in the third quarter of 2023.
  • The telco plans to train people, create jobs, and expand employment opportunities through the academy, which has set a 60% target to ensure that youth and adults have a minimum basic proficiency in sustainable digital skills by 2025.
  • This news follows MTN's October 2022 launch of the MTN Skills Academy in Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, and Rwanda. 

In 2023, South Africa's chronically high unemployment rate only became worse. The International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook for 2023 predicted that South Africa would have the highest unemployment rate globally, at 35.6%. However, data indicates that in the third quarter of 2023, the nation's unemployment rate was 31.9%.

Still, digital skills are crucial in reducing South Africa's jobless rate. In 2022, a youth employment accelerator, Harambee, released a report stating that youth unemployment in South Africa is 66.5%, while the official unemployment rate has reached a peak of nearly 35%. The report also emphasises how the skills gap in the tech sector is greater than the jobs gap.

Digital skills training can help close this gap and create more job opportunities for South Africans without jobs or in economically disadvantaged situations.

Consequently, MTN Skills Academy, which aims to provide young people with access to digital and entrepreneurial skills, is an online hub for job placement and digital skills that will also act as a platform to assist in integrating trainees into the tech industry. 

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The Academy has three main goals: creating a jobs hub for the continent, improving workplace readiness, and offering free online training. It also plans to accomplish this with the invaluable collaboration of PACE Career Centre, Coursera, and several other partners.

The academy will, however, advance in three stages, the first of which is the already-launched online learning portal. The second phase, expected to start next year, will cover mentorship and career guidance; the third phase, the job placement programme, will follow shortly. 

The job placement programme of the academy will feature a jobs portal where companies can connect with qualified talents.

This isn’t the first time a subsidiary of MTN Group in South Africa will address the nation’s low unemployment rate. In July 2023, MTN South Africa Foundation, a corporate social investment vehicle, launched its “Digital Skills for Digital Jobs” programme to train 900 youth in tech, life, and entrepreneurial skills.

Charles Molapisi, CEO of MTN South Africa, said that launching a digital skills academy is part of MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy, noting that the initiative falls under “Digital Skills for Digital Jobs,” focusing on upskilling one million people by 2025. 

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