South Africa to Launch Public-Private Collaboration Task Force to Close the Skills Gap

19 Sep 2017

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211;

· South Africa will launch a national task force to close the skills gap, ensuring that education and training systems keep pace with the new demands of labour markets

· South Africa ranks 87th out of 130 countries for its human capital optimization, according to the Global Human Capital Index 2017

· In South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy, 39% of core skills required across all jobs will be wholly different by 2020, while 41% of jobs in South Africa are susceptible to automation

New York, USA, 19 September 2017 – The Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of South Africa, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, will launch a Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in South Africa, which will bring together leaders from business, government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country.

“We must seek to ensure that talent is developed and deployed for maximum benefit to our economies and societies. The task force will help accelerate existing initiatives and improve coordination between the public and private sectors,” said Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of South Africa and Steward of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work.

The South Africa Task Force is the first country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project. The project serves as a platform to focus fragmented actions within one overarching mission to address future-oriented skills development, while at the same time supporting constructive public-private collaboration on urgent and fundamental reform of education systems and labour policies to prepare workforces for the future of jobs.

The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit, where leaders from government, business and civil society called for the need to accelerate public-private cooperation to deliver on the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate agreement. In particular, delivering on Sustainable Development Goal 4 – to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote life-long learning – will require urgent and concerted action, particularly as changes in the world of work threaten to widen skills gaps over time.

“Skills development is critical for preparing populations for the future of work. The World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project aims to provide a platform for countries interested in piloting an accelerated approach to closing the skills gap. We are very pleased to be working with South Africa as the inaugural country task force and look forward to working with other advanced and emerging economies,” said Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work System Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

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