General Electric (NYSE:GE) and the Africa Leadership University (ALU) have announced the commencement of the third cohort of the Africa Industrial Internet Programme(AIIP) aimed at equipping young Africans with skills to enable them to actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The 2020 cohort has enrolled 35 students from eight countries in Africa, drawn from oil and gas, transportation, power, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunication and aviation industries.
Over the last two years, 64 students had graduated after undergoing rigorous training programme of which 50 were fully sponsored by the General Electric from a scholarship fund totalling US$500,000.
General Electric will give 10 full scholarships for the current cohort.
The programme, launched in 2018, has empowered participants with essential skills for building applications for the Industrial Internet, which enables machine-to-machine communication that results in systems that can collect, analyse and deliver data in real-time.
These features provide significant benefits such as predicting when a device will require maintenance, enhancing logistics management, enhancing quality and optimizing safety.
The training takes place at a time when spending on the Internet of things is predicted to reach a trillion US dollars by 2025, with the total number of connected devices being projected to rise to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years.
Commenting on the Programme, Mr Farid Fezoua, the President and CEO of General Electric in charge of Africa, said being a digital industrial company, it was exciting seeing the AIIP developed an ecosystem of digital engineers, utilising data science as an enabler for their work across industries and developing solutions for most pressing challenges.
“Our partnership with ALU for the AIIP is a testament of our commitment to develop the next generation of leaders that will drive solutions made in Africa for Africa in this transformative digital age,” he added.
The AIIP is designed using a project-based approach where participants get to apply their learning in real world situations.
The Programme included regular assessments in each module culminating with a final project where participants apply their learning to solve an existing problem either in their business or in a partner organization’s business operations.
This is achieved through modules in machine learning and big data analytics, Industrial Internet of Things and Cloud-based Application Development.
A unique aspect of the Programme is a deliberate focus on creating links to industry for participants by inviting industry experts to intensives, in order to share case studies, projects of interest, trends and opportunities, through industry field visits and mentorship opportunities with data science professionals.
“African Leadership Group is thrilled to be partnering with GE to build a new generation of digital leaders for Africa” said Mr Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership Group, which includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, and ALX.
“We share GE’s passion for data, and what it can bring to the African continent and the world”.
The Programme enables mid-career engineers to build new skills in data analytics, data science, data engineering and data visualization by leveraging the power of data.
Engineers can significantly improve the performance of high-tech industrial machinery and processes, thereby increasing the bottom line for companies.
The Africa Industrial Internet Programme is creating globally competitive, digital engineers right here in Africa, and we can’t wait to see their full impact on the continent”.
In 2019, five female candidates from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria received the Jay Ireland Africa Rising Scholarship for women in tech in honour of GE Africa’s former CEO, Jay Ireland.
Speaking about her experience with the programme, Mr Funmi Somoye, a 2019 cohort graduate from Nigeria said, “More than Machine Learning and Data Science, I have learned more about myself, and what I am capable of doing. I can’t wait to change the world’.