SAP Africa today announced that it will award five bursaries to women across Africa to pursue careers in Data Science. The announcement was made at the launch of the Africa chapter of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Movement, which aims to inspire more women to pursue and excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers, particularly in the field of Data Science.
Digital transformation is rapidly changing the world of work with the ICT sector being among the few that are still showing positive long-term job growth. By 2020, 80% of all future jobs will be in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) -related fields, offering nearly double the pay of non-STEM related careers. Yet the participation of women in STEM related fields remains low, even though diversity is a catalyst for driving economic performance and innovation in Africa.
SAP is taking an active role in promoting diversity in STEM to create the next generation of female leaders who will be able to engage with the new wave of technological innovation, including Big Data and Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain.
Brett Parker, managing director at SAP Africa, said: “Women have a critical contribution to make towards Digital Transformation in Africa. The launch of WiDS provides a platform for women to develop and apply unique skills and capabilities for the upliftment of the entire continent. Diversity and inclusion is the only way businesses will be able to innovate and compete successfully in the digital economy.”
In recent years, global technology leaders have been making significant investments in initiatives to support a rich mix of gender perspectives that can help drive innovation and improve service to customers. Such efforts include commitments to place women in 25% of all leadership roles, leadership excellence acceleration, and certification for economic dividends for gender equality. Even community initiatives – such as Girls Who Code, Girl Smarts, TechGirlz, and the European Center for Women and Technology – provide an opportunity to empower millions of young women to explore their talent in STEM fields.
To date SAP Africa has provided job opportunities for a total of 400 consultants through the Skills For Africa initiative; trained over 4 000 university students in 10 different African countries on Enterprise Systems Education for Africa- teaching foundational enterprise systems; trained 516 000 youngsters in basic coding skills through the Africa Code Week (ACW) initiative, and exposed over 3 000 learners to STEM skills through the SAP University Alliances Young Thinkers Program.
Kwena Mabotja, Africa lead for SAP Next-Gen and WiDS, said: “SAP understands that it is the unique perspective of each individual that makes companies more innovative and dynamic. Being able to create value through a diverse and inclusive workplace culture is a key to business success. The rapid growth in data science presents exciting opportunities for companies that are able to take advantage of big data and advanced analytics to create new forms of business value. We look forward to seeing how this initiative brings women’s unique skills and capabilities to bear on the exciting fields of Big Data and Data Science.”