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Without digital skills, economies will struggle to take flight

Shenzhen, China – WEBWIRE

The digital skills gap affects both national economies and individual lives, causing countries to miss out on billions of dollars in GDP growth. As technologies such as AI develop with increasing speed, what can be done to plug the skills gap before it widens further?

In the newest edition of Transform magazine, thought leaders from government, industry, and academia provide answers to this urgent problem.

“If you are digitally illiterate, you’ll be left behind,” said the Honorable Felix Mutati, Zambia’s Minister of Technology and Science, in an interview with Editor-in-Chief Gavin Allen.

Minister Mutati is on a mission to “skill up” the country’s next generation of tech talent – especially young women and girls – and he issued this blunt warning after a nationwide audit found the “digital preparedness” level of Zambia’s workforce to be just 34%.

In response, the country is equipping all of its secondary schools with an Internet connection, and is re-training about 3,500 teachers nationwide to make sure they really understand the tech they must teach their students.

In the new edition of Transform, Editor-in-Chief Gavin Allen also spoke with Professor Pedro Santa-Clara, who runs two groundbreaking computer programming schools in Portugal.

Professor Santa-Clara claims modern education is stuck in an outdated model that teaches all students the same content, as in an assembly line.

As a result, he argues, many countries have shut down competition and innovation, “the two mechanisms that create quality and value in any industry.” The solution, he says, is to teach not just technical skills, but also problem-solving, creativity, communication, cooperation, and what might be called a meta-skill, “learning how to learn.”

The digital skills gap is not confined to developing countries. In Europe, every third person in the workforce lacks basic digital skills, according to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index.

To better understand the digital skills gap, Huawei funded research by EY and All Digital to investigate this phenomenon. An article by Tony Jin, Vice President of Huawei’s European Region, captures the key findings, and outlines areas where government and private industry can narrow the skills gap in the years ahead.

The latest edition of Transform also includes an interview with David Atchoarena, Executive Director at the World Health Organization (WHO) Academy, about the power of inter-generational learning and the need to pass knowledge and skills down from older workers to younger colleagues.


Published every two months, Transform is an online and print magazine that runs video interviews, newsmaker profiles, and feature articles that examine the relationship between technology, business, and society. A PDF of the magazine can be downloaded from the web site, and a hard-copy edition is available in some geographic locations and upon request.
Each edition is about one topic. Recent examples include cyber security, healthcare, and sustainability.

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