The NEMISA partnership framework is geared towards making SA an e-skilled nation by 2030

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From individuals and companies to countries and global networks, there is a realisation that large challenges cannot be overcome alone. This equally applies to developing the e-skills capacity in South Africa.

An intermediary collaborative platform for multi-stakeholder projects

From small pockets of impact to massification

When organisations tackle large challenges as single entities, there are only small pockets of impact. These are valuable; however, this is not enough to tackle larger issues nor is it sustainable, especially for reaching the poorest of the poor. The aim is sustainable large-scale impact (massification). For this to happen, stakeholders need to combine efforts in a coordinated manner with an agreed-upon framework.

The need for an agile partnership framework that responds to needs of the different stakeholders

When working across the government, business, education, civil society and organised labour, the speed at which decisions and actions are taken is different. There are competing interests and agendas. Organisations may wish to be involved in efforts in different ways, for example, regarding the depth of engagement or a specific focus area. An agile framework is needed that caters for these needs.

An external facilitator agency responds more effectively to the challenges of multi-stakeholder collaboration

As with every large scale project, there is a need for drivers, project leaders and advocates. Within an organisation, these concepts are commonplace: A high-level champion drives the project and keeps it top-of-mind. Project managers ensure the planning, resources and efficiencies are organised in a way that provides impetus for the project. Project ambassadors work on various levels to integrate the project within the organisation. These elements are as essential in multi-stakeholder projects.

An intermediary collaborative platform is needed

With multi-stakeholder collaborations, particularly those that range across the government, business, education, civil society and organised labour, an intermediary collaborative platform is needed. It becomes the entity that channels the initiatives into a coordinated framework with a shared vision.

The e-skills challenge

Technology embedded in everyday life

This is a world where technology has become embedded in everyday life. From banking and sourcing information to government services and business, these actions are increasingly performed using technology.

Technology for global competitiveness

If the world is operating on a technology base, then people, societies and countries need to be linked into that base to be globally competitive. World economies are now emphasising the Digital Economy/innovative economy—where business and economic activity takes place within a digital framework (usually the Internet and Artificial Intelligence). Developing countries, including South Africa, cannot be left out.

Technology for active participation in society

Technology has become so present and ubiquitous that the ability to use technology meaningfully includes communication, employment and business opportunities, and more. Technology plays an intrinsic role in being able to actively participate in society. It is of particular importance to ensure the following risk groups are included: the previously disadvantaged, elderly, jobless, marginalised youth, women and people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). There are currently 22 million people who are not connected to the internet.

World Economic Forum (WEF) advises countries to prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)

4IR is described as a time when technology will replace many routine jobs. To remain economically active and relevant, people will need to upskill and re-skill—particularly with e-skills (digital skills).

A need to create an ICT ecosystem that includes e-skills

There is a need for all countries to create the appropriate environments to enable citizens to engage with the world through technology. Initially, this meant building infrastructure. But global examples, as well as in South Africa, have shown that infrastructure alone is not enough. There needs to be an ecosystem that includes, among other elements, infrastructure, services and e-skills (digital skills). E-skills is the ability to use technology in a meaningful way that leads to innovation.

South Africa is ranked 61 out of 138 countries in e-readiness ranking

The effectiveness of the ICT environment to serve the country—to raise global competitiveness and citizens’ quality of life—is rated in a WEF global ranking. This is an annual report ‘WEF – Networked Readiness Index’ ( (digital skills) is a thread throughout the report’s indices.

NEMISA’s platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration

It is clear that South Africa needs to increase the development of e-skills on a mass scale. This is a significant challenge. There is a need for a framework that provides coordination and a shared vision of outcomes. NEMISA provides this partnership framework for guiding e-skills initiatives, as well as playing a catalytic role around e-skills.

The NEMISA globally-recognised collaborative model offers

  • Space for shared collaboration to reduce duplication, combine resources and increase impact,
  • Coordination of e-skills intervention to ensure alignment with local, sector and national priorities,
  • A common vision where stakeholder needs are catered for,
  • A research component that provides data for evidence-based decision-making. An example is the development of ‘The framework for digital skills (e-skills)’, which looks at defining the extent of the different types of e-skills (from e-literacy to sector-specific to professional skills),
  • Pathways to national, provincial and local access,
  • A single cohesive point for increased advocacy and awareness around e-skills, including creating a national e-skills policy,
  • A mechanism to show the overall impact through aggregation (combining all the initiatives),
  • Academic and partner feedback around e-skilling methodologies for the South African environment—the provincial e-skills coLabs and partners pilot and research different methodologies, as well as creating e-skills courses and curricula


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This edition

Issue 68