SAP University Alliances Africa has, together with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (OvGU) in Germany, launched a three-year project to develop an enterprise systems (ES) education platform, curriculum and community for sub-Saharan Africa, to further contribute to its skills development initiatives in Africa.

The project, worth in excess of E3-million, is co-financed by DEG (Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft) with public funds from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, together with SAP.

The so-called ESEFA (Enterprise Systems Education for Africa) project aims to develop curricula and establish an African university community to deliver ES and enterprise resource planning (ERP) education courses that are accessible both on and offline to African students interested in broadening their ICT skillsets.

“The continent is characterised by huge diversity in the social and industrial sectors and economic growth predictions have resulted in a defined need for skilled employees who are familiar with modern information and computer technology,” says Karin Reissenauer, ESEFA project manager at UCT.

“What ESEFA is going to do is offer opportunities for professional development to the next generation of African employees, not only giving them an in-depth understanding of highly integrated business processes, but also the know-how of standard business software.”

The ESEFA team aims to develop partnerships with at least one large university in nine sub-Saharan countries, as well as one other university in South Africa. ES/ERP courses for lecturers and students will be offered in co-operation with these partner African universities.

To achieve this objective, extensive capacity building measures will be carried out and a comprehensive toolset that allows blended learning will be developed and implemented, says De Wet Naude from SAP University Alliances Africa.

UCT will be conducting field studies over the duration of the project to evaluate and improve the course design and teaching material, which will ensure that the curriculum remains relevant and offers relevant and sustainable Enterprise Systems education in the sub-Saharan region.

Reissenauer says the university will be in charge of the local project operation, curriculum development and support, marketing and roll out during the initial three-year phase, ultimately delivering a sustainable business model for future ES education at universities across Africa.

“The ESEFA project gives students in Africa the opportunity of a highly integrated learning experience with Enterprise Systems. Therefore the University Competence Centre (UCC) Magdeburg will provide access to SAP education systems and will contribute through its extensive experience in the field of ES/ERP teaching,” says Patrick Wirz, strategic project manager at OvGU.

“This initiative means sustainable ES/ERP curriculum development and community building in Africa for Africa.”