General Electric and the Africa Leadership University (ALU) in February announced the start of the this year’s Africa Industrial Internet Programme (AIIP) which is aimed at equipping young Africans with skills that will enable them to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.
AIIP class of 2019.
The 2020 cohort, the third annual intake in the programme, has enrolled 35 students from eight countries across Africa, drawn from the oil & gas, transport, power, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, telecoms and aviation industries. Over the last two years, the rigorous training programme has seen 64 students graduate, of whom 50 were fully sponsored by GE from a scholarship fund totalling US$ 500 000. GE will give 10 full scholarships to members of 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 2022 , and the total number of connected devices is 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 use 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 who will drive solutions made in Africa for Africa in this transformative digital age.”
The AIIP is designed using a project-based approach where participants get to apply their learning in real world contexts. It includes regular assessments in each module and 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, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Cloud-based application development. A specific aspect of the programme is a deliberate focus on creating links to industry for participants by inviting industry experts to share case studies, projects of interest, trends and opportunities; through industry field visits; and mentorship opportunities with data science professionals.
Fred Swaniker, founder of African Leadership Group, which includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, and ALX, said of this partnership with GE aimed at building a new generation of digital leaders for Africa, “The group shares 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, increasing the bottom line for companies. The Africa Industrial Internet Programme is creating globally competitive, digital engineers here in Africa, and we look forward to seeing their full impact on the continent.
In 2019 five women, 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, 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!”
 IDC, https://bit.ly/2SpvxwG