Africa – The upcoming global talent powerhouse


HR experts lean in and unpack how Africa will be a contributor to the future global workforce.

Africa, a continent vibrant with diversity and rich in potential, stands poised as the pool of talent for the future. With its youthful population and burgeoning tech-savvy workforce, Africa embodies a reservoir of innovation and creativity.

Figures from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Human Capital Index indicate that Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. According to the figures, the region currently captures only 55 percent of its human capital potential, compared to a global average of 65 percent.

Coca-Cola Africa’s vice president for people and culture Shalini Bhateja is a firm believer in taking the African talent agenda forward. “Africa is so diverse There are unique characteristics for north, west, southern and east Africa. We have HR, technical, marketing and commercial partners collaborating and working across Africa. You get a lot of scope and experience diverse ways of thinking,” she says.

She adds that it is vital for her to create supportive and inclusive structures and spaces that honour African values while spearheading company objectives. Furthermore, says Shalini, African youth form a major part of the population and as an organisation they are committed to developing and nurturing African talent.

“We want to develop talent that’s not just for the continent, but for the global stage,” she explains.

Similarly Yolanda Manganye, Momentum Metropolitan’s human capital executive, believes Africa is also opening up to the realisation that it can be a leader and not necessarily follow the rest of the world when it comes to unearthing talent. She says through collaborating with educational institutions on initiatives on the continent, the organisation has been able to leverage Africa’s youthful talent.

“With the youth population in Africa being said to be one of the highest in the world, and with such opportunities being presented in the continent, I am optimistic that the calibre of talent to emerge in the near future from Africa will be sought after by the rest of the world.”


Njabulo Mashigo, 2022 CHRO of the Year and executive director for HR at Vodacom SA says Africa’s demographic dividend and diversity is key to developing a global talent pool for the future. “Africa’s demographic dividend places it at an advantage. With a massive pool of diverse and talented young people, businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting and developing the leaders of tomorrow. Corporates, governments and educational institutions need to work collaboratively to develop the skills needed to take the continent forward.”

It’s a view Nomaswazi Ngwane, Human capital executive: mass and foundation cluster at Old Mutual shares. “Africa is said to be the future pool of talent – I agree. The sad part is, we are losing African talent to some of the first world countries and other continents,” she says. “Some of our unique strategies to retain this talent is to provide talent with cross-country moves and exposure. We emphasise skill building beyond the technical skills and have a specific focus on building a strong leadership pipeline. We also look at building and strengthening cultural differences, tolerance and astuteness as a skill for talent.”

With all that said, there is no doubt that Africa’s young people are reshaping work’s future, promising prosperity and inclusivity for all.

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