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It is no surprise that COVID-19 and its global impact has seen South Africa’s economy and job market sink significantly.

Last year it was reported that our local economy shrank more that the government’s predicted 7% initial forecast in 2020. Moving forward to SONA (State of the Nation Address) in 2021. The release of the critical skills list for South Africa, which features IT as a significant area of focus.

Locally, our skills development is governed by the Skills Development Act that aims to improve quality of life for all employees and their professional futures. This act allows for South African businesses that meet legislative requirements to claim up to 60% of their skills development levy back from their specific SETA (Skills Education Training Authorities) – a great incentive for businesses to upskill and educate South Africa’s youth.

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs 2020 findings, there has been ‘a   

significant rise in interest in encryption, reflecting the new vulnerabilities of our digital age, and a significant increase in the number of firms expecting to adopt nonhumanoid robots and artificial intelligence, with both technologies slowly becoming a mainstay of work across industries.’ “ICT will always encourage investment because it is the biggest enabler of business today, no matter the industry. Technological developments – specifically in the biometric security sector, will increase as the global demand for secure data continues to rise,” says Gur Geva, Founder and CEO of iiDENTIFii, a market leader in biometric identity. “If we look at biometric identity and other AI powered technologies, their major draw card is that they keep their client’s sensitive data secure.”

According to a recent research project, 60% of global companies said they are looking to improve their security by implementing/growing their use of biometrics in 2021. 

Identity and access management (IAM) has become more critical as COVID-19 has pushed the world economy into digital/remote methodology. Needing to safeguard online meetings and all cloud-based data has increased the need and demand for a more secure and

improved connections.

Geva says, “While this may present as a tricky set of circumstances, the opportunities biometric identity offers the job market, are positive. South Africa is competitive in the global ICT market. We have great resources and have the ability to train and develop agile minds, so we create the skillset needed to upscale our local biometric identity market.”

The biometric security sector is set to reach R1000 billion by 2025 making it obvious that there is opportunity for the development of local talent.

While Geva is enthusiastic about the potential for growth, he advises companies in the financial and telecommunications industry that despite the advances in technology, fraudsters are evolving as rapidly. “Business to business fraud costs the global economy $5,127 trillion each year. This loss of legitimate profit is unfortunate because it negates potential investment back into the economy.”

Geva explains further that a firm strategy can be implemented as key industries and governments are recognising the added benefits of biometric identity and how it can be used to create an extra layer of security for public and private sector entities and people, making it so much easier to know your customer (KYC).

He concludes, “There is a demand for technicians and developers to embrace the opportunities afforded by the biometric industry and South Africa is well positioned to fulfil

this need.”