Multinational conglomerate company General Electric and the Africa Leadership University (ALU) have announced the kick-off of the 3rd cohort of the Africa Industrial Internet Programme (AIIP), which is aimed at equipping young African digital leaders with skills that will enable them to take part in the fourth industrial revolution.
The 2020 cohort has enrolled 35 students from eight countries across Africa, drawn from oil & gas, transportation, power, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, telecoms and aviation industries.
Over the last two years, the rigorous training programme has graduated 64 students, of which 50 were fully sponsored by GE from a scholarship fund totalling $500,000.
GE will give 10 full scholarships for the current cohort.
Launched in 2018, the programme 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 optimising safety.
The training takes place at a time when spending on the Internet of Things is predicted to reach a trillion US dollars by 2021, 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, Farid Fezoua, President & CEO for GE Africa, said: “As a digital industrial company, it’s exciting to see how over the last two years the AIIP has developed an ecosystem of digital engineers that utilise data science as an enabler for their work across industries, developing solutions for the 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.”
New generation of digital leaders
The AIIP is designed using a project-based approach where participants get to apply their learning in real-world contexts.
The programme includes regular assessments in each module culminating with a final project where participants are tasked with applying their learning to solve an existing problem either in their business or in a partner organisation’s business operations. This is achieved through modules in machine learning and big data analytics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) 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 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 Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership Group, which includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, and ALX.
Swaniker continued: “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 visualisation. By leveraging the power of data, today’s 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.