NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – United States International University Africa (USIU Africa) is set to host the first AppFactory center in Kenya that seeks to equip local ICT graduates with the necessary skills for the job market.
The centre is in collaboration with Microsoft and is aimed at addressing the competency gap between ICT graduates and employment.
The program that is open to other universities is intended to increase the employability of students in the ICT sector by providing experiential learning.
USIU Africa Vice Chancellor Paul Zeleza says IT companies are still finding it difficult to recruit graduates who are ready for the job market.
“IT companies recruiting graduates have to take them through on the job training which is costly and time-consuming,” he said.
According to a 2016 report by Zalego, 72 percent of local ICT firms have had most of their software solutions developed by foreigners, leaving Kenyan developers with only 25 percent.
The programme which will run every six months targets final year ICT students at USIU Africa and fresh graduates from other universities who will be taken through training and mentorship by senior software craftsmen.
Each program will have 30 students.
The I2C AppFactory is the 14th AppFactory to be launched in partnership with Microsoft on the continent, with others in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malawi, and Ethiopia.
In 2017, 500 students graduated from the Africa AppFactories, 85 percent securing full-time jobs within three months of graduation while others have started their own businesses.
“Graduates from the AppFactory are highly sought-after. Virtually all of them find work – often before they even graduate. Across Africa, AppFactory students are learning how to build digital solutions in business, finance, healthcare, education, agriculture, tourism, and transportation. As they become experienced software engineers – working with modern technologies from cloud computing to secure coding, bots and data analytics – start-ups and corporates are snatching them up,” says Lutz Ziob, Dean of the Microsoft 4Africa Academy.
USIU-Africa will host the AppFactory, at their Incubation and Innovation Centre while Microsoft will provide assistance and access to various platforms, tools and networks to successfully operate the programme.
Enrolment for the AppFactory currently on-going and students and recent graduates can register to enroll at www.usiu.ac.ke/i2c/appfactory.
The move comes even as the country is reviewing its education system to see that graduates are ready for the Job market.
Former Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi last year raised concerns over the quality of graduates local universities have been producing and was reviewing the curriculum until he was switched to the Ministry of Interior, Planning and National Coordination.
Former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed took over the Education Ministry two weeks ago.
Kenya is positioning itself as Africa’s Innovation Hub and is known for world-class innovations that include the famous M-PESA by Safaricom.
The country is also home to a few other innovation hubs that include Nailab.
Launched in 2013, Microsoft 4Africa aims to unlock and accelerate Africa’s potential to create technology not only for the continent but for the world.
The initiative focuses on developing world-class skills, access, and innovation, to empower people to turn great ideas into a reality, enhance livelihoods and drive Africa’s digit.