The Importance of Continuous Learning: Why Your Organisation Can’t Afford to Stand Still

The Importance of Continuous Learning: Why Your Organisation Can’t Afford to Stand Still

“A happy life is one spent in learning, earning and yearning” – Lillian Gish.

Continuous learning is described by Wesley Chai as the ongoing expansion of knowledge and skill sets and is often used in the context of professional development.

Continuous learning in the workplace can be described as developing new skills and knowledge while reinforcing what has been previously learned. Learning is a never-ending process and is crucial for growth. As a working professional, partaking in continuous learning paves the way toward success, not only for yourself but also for the development and growth of the organisation.

The world is forever changing and evolving; therefore, organisations must stay up to date with skills and knowledge trends to remain competitive and continue to thrive. Individual learning plans should be seen as a tool to assist organisations in adapting to new trends and changes in the world of work.  Learning in any organisation should never stop. It should be a continuous process, one that organisations are heavily invested in.

The need for continuous learning and development is a global phenomenon. The 2022 Workplace Learning and Development Trends Research Report indicated that “74% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training”. Identifying the right training programs and developing structured learning pathways will assist individuals fulfill their potential. This should result in loyalty from employees and reduce employee attrition.

The importance of learning and development has also been recognised by the South African Government. Several legislative measures are in place to support and ensure that learning takes place in the South African working environment. They include the Skills Development Act and the requirement to submit annual training reports (ATRs) and workplace skills plans (WSPs) to the relevant SETAs.

Continuous learning is not instilled in the short term. It is a medium- to long-term goal that requires buy-in, commitment and planning from various organisational stakeholders. Successful implementation can create infinite exploration possibilities for individuals and return on investment for organisations. It results in the ability to connect with others in a team, to learn from each other and, in so doing, build a platform for collaboration and discussion. These touch points create opportunities to change and adapt, and increase resilience in ourselves and our organisations to meet whatever challenges and opportunities may come.

“We can’t predict how our careers will develop or what the world of work will look like in the future. Investing in our ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn helps us increase our readiness for the opportunities that change presents and our resilience to the inevitable challenges we’ll experience along the way.”

Harvard Business Review, 2021

Revitalise your workforce and improve your organisational effectiveness with Siyakha’s expert assistance in reviewing and enhancing your ‘people’ strategy through our specialised WSP and ATR process.

Sune Marais | T: 011 706 9006

Kenya’s Digital Future of Work

Kenya’s Digital Future of Work

With the right programmes in place, Kenya can transform and elevate itself in the global IT industry, creating employment and significant growth


“Nearly 70% of Kenyan adults transfer money via mobile phone – the highest percentage of any country on Earth”


Kenya is one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an economic growth averaging 5,7%, according to a World Bank report issued earlier this year.


The country has a population of 52,57 million, with an approximate unemployment rate of 7%, which is significantly lower than many other African countries – particularly South Africa, which has a population not much larger than that of Kenya but an approximate unemployment rate of more than 50%.


There is, however, a significant disparity between informal and formal-sector employment. The majority of employment in Kenya is within the informal sector, with only a small percentage emanating from the private sector. There is a drive towards the creation of more formal or private-sector employment in the country, but we should not forget that the informal sector creates a significant amount of jobs, generates income within impoverished communities and contributes significantly to economic growth.


The informal sector is often viewed as ‘problematic’ but should be considered an indicator of the entrepreneurial spirit of the African continent. Data around the future world of work shows that entrepreneurship and smaller businesses will be key features of the African continent, with a significant rise in technological innovation. Not only that, but 80% of employment will emanate from smaller businesses rather than formal or public-sector institutions, where over-employment is a concern and unsustainable. This could be especially true in Kenya, given that the country, with its culture of technology and positive approach to digital disruption, is anticipated to become the tech hub of Africa.


Kenya is a perfect example of tech adoption on a large scale. According to a report in Ethiopian Airlines magazine Selamta, nearly 70% of Kenyan adults transfer money via mobile phone – the highest percentage of any country on Earth – with more than US$320-million transferred each month. This digital transaction culture has resulted in Nairobi fast becoming a creative hub in software development, attracting significant attention from prominent members of the global IT community.


The adoption of mobile-based money transactions was deeply rooted in the country’s social dynamic, where a high proportion of Kenya’s urban population financially supports family members in rural communities. Previously, the only way to send funds to family members was via hand-delivery or with bus drivers. Given the security and safety aspect, M-Pesa created a digital platform for urban workers to safely and instantly transfer money to their rural families. The uptake of this digital technology was unprecedented and unexpected and created a positive attitude and culture towards technology innovation within the country.


The integration of technology in Kenya seems to take place at a faster pace than in other African countries owing to a less rigid regulatory environment. This has led to an insurgence of technological innovation and related businesses across the country.


It would appear that the future world of work in Kenya sits firmly in rapid technological innovation and evolution. With the right programmes and initiatives in place, Kenya can transform and elevate itself in the global IT industry, vastly contributing to the creation of employment and significant economic growth.


Even though the informal sector may not be directly related to the technological innovations emerging from the country, it may be a good initiative to start linking the entrepreneurial enthusiasm and spirit that resides in the informal sector with the opportunities that exist in the formal sector. Furthermore, it will be necessary to ensure that relevant education is provided at various institutions, whether at primary or tertiary level and that opportunities to reskill and upskill be given to those already employed in the formal sector. In addition, community-based educational programmes should target those individuals who may be unemployed and lack the skills for employment.


Introduction to technology and the opportunity for growth will be endless in a country like Kenya, where digital disruption is welcomed and a positive outlook is expected.

Kenya: East Africa’s Tech Capital

Kenya: East Africa’s Tech Capital

The country has a world-leading FinTech industry, with a growing ecosystem of start-up entrepreneurs


“New investors are arriving in Kenya every week to seek partnerships with the country’s tech talent in its 50-plus innovation hubs”


Almost three years ago, Kenyan entrepreneur Mark Karake packed his bags in Silicon Valley to return home to Nairobi and immerse himself in Kenya’s rapidly expanding start-up scene.


He launched the Impact Africa Network as a non-profit start-up studio to ensure that young, talented Africans have the opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of Africa as both creators and owners.


Impact Africa Network offers 12-month Innovation Fellowships to talented college graduates seeking to launch their own start-ups and has a deal with LinkedIn to match all donations received.


Karake is just one of a growing ecosystem of start-up entrepreneurs in Kenya who in 2019 broke all records to raise more than $400 million. An early adopter was iHub, founded more than 10 years ago by Erik Hersmann. It has incubated great success stories such as Majik Water and M-Shule and has inspired scores of innovation accelerators around the country.


Since then, the Kenyan Innovation Hub has grown at a breath-taking rate. These new hubs work closely with Kenya’s universities. iBizAfrica, for example, is hosted by Strathmore University and has incubated more than 300 start-ups, including ValuRaha, Buymore, and Tatu Creatives. C4D Lab operates out of the School of Computing and Informatics at the University of Nairobi and is home to the prestigious Nairobi Innovation Week.


In addition, the University of Nairobi hosts the Fabrication Laboratory, perhaps better known as FabLab, which specialises in digital fabrication and is part of a network of labs linked to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Kenyatta University, the Chandaria Foundation supports the Chandaria-BIIC’s attempts to merge academic research with innovation. About 70% of its budding entrepreneurs are Kenyatta University students and have had successes ranging from mobile money start-ups like FlexPay to healthcare initiatives.


Kenya now has a world-leading FinTech industry. Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money system is well known and in use in seven other African countries. Less well known is that innovations in Kenya’s FinTech space have seen financial inclusion in Kenyan banking grow from just 26% in 2006 to an astounding 83% of the population today. As a result, the traditionally ‘unbanked’, the rural poor, and women farmers and street traders are benefiting from FinTech and using it as a passport to economic empowerment.


These Kenyan innovations have become models for the rest of the continent, with 24 countries in Africa having committed to a digital economy blueprint.


As Africa begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the continent’s healthcare systems is a major area for innovation. Kenya’s e-health start-up TIBU Health demonstrates how digitalisation is transforming patient care. Since its launch last year, it has served more than 10 000 patients with a comprehensive home-based vaccination service.


TIBU’s success has attracted new local and international investors, which the company will use to set up a high-tech micro-lab to process medical samples in-house and boost its healthcare logistics and delivery network. This is only part of a bigger picture that is seeing new investors and corporates arriving in Kenya every week to seek partnerships with the country’s tech talent in its 50-plus innovation hubs.


Kenya sits at the heart of the East African economy, and through the East African Community has easy access to neighbouring markets in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, with the massive Ethiopia just to the north. This gives Kenya’s entrepreneurs a larger market in which to sell and expand.


All this must be music to the ears of Impact Africa Network’s Karake and his dream to ensure that young, talented Africans participate in the digital transformation of Africa.


Kenya is at the crossroads of this transformation as it increasingly becomes a key player in Africa’s digital future.

How Rwanda’s tech revolution is transforming Africa

How Rwanda’s tech revolution is transforming Africa

The country is producing robotics and drones to tackle the continent’s health and education challenges


“We’ve been using drones to deliver blood to rural areas and to announce health messaging to the population reminding them to wear face masks and updating them on the latest cases.”



In recent years, Rwanda has been feted as a great African success story. The country has experienced a dramatic transformation that has resulted in hordes of global investors and entrepreneurs beating a path to its door.


They arrive impressed by clean streets and a business-friendly environment that makes it easy to register a company and start trading. Then they discover Rwanda’s growing reputation as a tech and innovation hub. The country boasts new initiatives like the $2-billion AfDB-funded Kigali Innovation City, which brings together a thriving community of technology companies, top research universities and biotech firms. In addition, Rwanda will soon open Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant as part of a tech revolution that is producing robotics and drones to tackle the continent’s health and education challenges. A pioneer of this new wave is Zipline, a tech company that uses drones to deliver medical supplies to rural areas.


In a country with one of the highest percentages of female members of Parliament, it should come as no surprise that many of Rwanda’s emerging tech entrepreneurs are women. Rwanda has been at the forefront of championing women in ICT and the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the so-called STEM subjects that the World Economic Forum predicts will provide 80% of new jobs in Africa by the end of this decade. 


Institutions such as the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology and the Kigali-based African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) are training a cohort of young female STEM students. Rwanda also promotes events such as the Rwanda Coding Academy, the Miss Geek Rwanda competition and ICT Rwanda, which encourage young women to develop tech skills and business ideas. 


All this is music to the ears of Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s 37-year-old Minister of ICT and Innovation. According to Ingabire, Rwanda’s commitment to training this new generation of tech-savvy young women is already bringing successes. She points to the current COVID-19 crisis where Rwanda has performed better than many other countries, including the United States and many in Europe, by implementing high-tech solutions to control the spread of the virus.


“We’ve deployed robots into our hospitals to support our doctors. They do basic jobs like taking patients’ temperatures, which allows the doctors to concentrate on the more highly skilled tasks,” said Ingabire.


“We’ve been using drones to deliver blood to rural areas and to announce health messaging to the population reminding them to wear face masks and updating them on the latest cases.”


“And we’ve used our mobile-phone technology for data collection and AI to map the high-risk areas and help our community health workers reach those areas of most need,” Ingabire added.


In 2019, Ingabire was named one of the Top 20 of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government. In addition to her ministerial duties, Ingabire coordinated the creation of Smart Africa, an initiative that seeks to boost the continent’s broadband infrastructure to drive Africa’s socio-economic growth; and has been at the helm of Transform Africa, which brings together innovators and policymakers from across Africa to shape the continent’s digital transformation agenda.


Together with fellow Rwandan Donald Kaberuka, the former President of the African Development Bank, Ingabire is at the heart of Africa’s “Build Back Better” strategy to create a new Africa after the COVID-19 pandemic recedes.


“We are working together as a global family to create a better future,” said Ingabire. “And that can’t be about one part of the world doing better than others; it requires all of us to work together to build business models that are sustainable. We are planning for the worst-case scenario and, God forbid should that happen, we’re all better placed to respond to it.”


The Importance of Continuous Learning: Why Your Organisation Can’t Afford to Stand Still

Rwanda’s future world of work

Rwanda needs to address issues of education and equality before it can embrace the rise of digital technologies


The Rwandan government aims to create 1,5-million jobs by 2024 under the National Transformation Agenda


Rwanda is considered a revolutionary economy in Africa. It has grown significantly over the past decade, particularly in mining, agriculture and manufacturing, and has been identified by the World Bank as one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent, with a steady increase in economic activity of approximately 8%. In addition, the unemployment rate is low, and Rwanda’s connections with East Africa, the Middle East and China have bolstered its growth.


This steady increase in economic activity has provided opportunities for skilled workers to support the country’s tea and coffee industries, and services and mining sectors. Investment is pouring into Rwanda, with world-leading brands such as PwC, Unilever, KPMG, Coca Cola and Tiger Brands growing the private-sector economy.


One must consider a number of factors when contemplating the future world of work of any country, including the ratio of economic activity in terms of informal versus formal sectors and opportunities, quality of education and skills development across the population, unemployment statistics, and gender equality.


Informal versus formal sector


According to a 2020 report by The New Times, approximately 77,65% of employment in Rwanda takes place within the informal sector, with agriculture one of the leading sectors in this regard. The approximately 22% workers employed in the formal sector typically work in the construction, social services, transport, trade, finance and real estate industries.


Given that the majority of employment takes place in the informal sector, and mostly in agriculture, approximately 80% of the country’s population resides in rural areas, while the remaining 20% is based in the capital and other cities.

The Rwandan government has embarked on a drive to reduce informal-sector employment and to increase employment in the private sector via the establishment of multiple programmes, with the aim to create 1,5-million jobs by 2024 under the National Transformation Agenda. To achieve this, 214 000 off-farm jobs would need to be created per year.


Government, however, will need to make a significant effort to dismantle current social barriers and increase recognition that the creation of jobs for the less skilled population of workers is just as important as establishing a knowledge-based economy for the middle and upper classes.


Employment and equality


In November 2020, the International Labour Organisation issued a report relating to the youth labour market and school-to-work transition. Unemployment remains relatively low in Rwanda, at approximately 22%. This can be somewhat misleading, however, or create the assumption that the Rwandan population is thriving. The reality is that majority of Rwandans lives in extreme poverty and, despite its impressive growth, the country remains relatively poor with low-quality employment and high levels of informality. Women in Rwanda experience the highest levels of unemployment, resulting in inequality and gender disparity.


Youth unemployment is primarily an urban phenomenon and is a result of youth having inadequate access to information and resources, low levels of employable skills, and insufficient training opportunities.




Education in Rwanda remains problematic. According to a World Bank report published in 2020, the school net enrolment rate increased to 97,7% in 2016, but academic performance in rural primary schools remains low and the quality of education poor. The rate of primary-school completion rapidly declined from 78,6% in 2011 to 65,2% in 2016, an indication of the frustration experienced by the community. There is, however, a drive by the government to reach 40% enrolment in upper secondary education, and for 25% of students eligible for tertiary education to receive a government scholarship, while others would be eligible for loans.


There is light at the end of the tunnel. According to a World Bank report, Future Drivers of Growth in Rwanda, which was published in May 2019, Rwanda is actively driving its vision to become an upper-middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050. To achieve this goal, there is increased emphasis on human capital and private-sector development. To drive this, a strategic plan in the education sector will priorities human capital and increase fiscal resources for education under the 2019/20 budget.


The way forward


What does the above mean for the future world of work in Rwanda? It is evident that a number of societal issues will need to be addressed. Given the significant level of foreign investment, access to formal employment will increase, however, the low levels of education means there will be a lack of skilled workers to fill these positions. In addition, as Africa moves away from a corporate-based environment, change agility and adaptability by individuals to upskill and reskill will be significant. Again, the challenge lies in the fundamental issue of education and equality.


There is a significant move to digitise sectors across Rwanda to drive the local economy, but the current education system does not provide the required education or skills to navigate this complexity, which could ultimately result in further unemployment. Rwanda is no different to any other country across the globe with the rise of digital technologies, however, before the country can move to this level, it will need to address the above key societal issues, and quickly.


In addition, informal sector employment should not necessarily be seen as a deterrent to success, but rather as presenting myriad opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs. While the Rwandan government is looking to decrease employment in informal markets, the focus should be on programmes that enhance, support and accelerate the move towards entrepreneurship. Across Africa, the majority of employment will stem from small, emerging businesses and should not be discouraged, but rather celebrated and supported through relevant national transformation agendas.