The African Development Bank (AfDB) partnered with Facebook, Microsoft and The Rockefeller Foundation to launch Coding for Employment Program. The launch took place at the African Innovation Summit (AIS) in Kigali Rwanda yesterday. The program will train youths in highly demanded ICT curriculum. It will also link graduates directly to ICT employees. The new program will prepare African youths for the future jobs. Moreover, it will produce the next generation of young digital innovators from Africa. The program will create more than 9 million jobs and get to 32 million women and youths across the continent.
The Coding for Employment Program is at the top of the agenda of the African Development Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative. The initiative aims at making youths from Africa to prosper by 2025. The initiative will offer employment skills to 50 million African youths by 2025. It will also create 25 million jobs in technology, information communication, and agriculture and various key sectors across Africa by that time. The African Development Bank invested $1.64 billion in programs to prepare youths in various careers over the past 15 years. The careers are technology, innovation, and science. Having youths at the center of Africa’s inclusive economic growth agenda is at the top of the bank’s investments and its High 5s priorities. The High five priorities are expanding power and integration, feeding the continent, building businesses, and improving the life quality of Africans. The bank does that by preparing African youths for the current competitive digital world.
There is an increase in demand for digitization across education, health and other sectors. The increase is as the world relocates towards 4th industrial revolution. Digital innovations are creating new job opportunities. They also can solve the African development challenges. There is a rapid growth of youthful population, and the figures are expected to double to more than 830 million by 2050. But the wide gap in critical skills and digital divide in the continent poses a serious challenge to youths getting decent and quality work in a fast-changing workforce. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Managing Director for Africa, Mamadou Biteye said that youths are the most valuable resources in Africa. He added that Coding for Employment speeds up investment in that group. He added that that is the reason why his foundation is happy to collaborate with the bank to help each African youth reach their full potential. Biteve said that the partnership would create 130 Centers of Excellence across the continent. The centers will help to narrow the wide gap between the skills of African youths and digital hiring news of employees.
Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, Ghada Khalifa said that digital skills are increasingly becoming important for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs. Unfortunately, many African youths do not have the skills. He added that the partnership would help equip the African youths with the needed skills. Head of Policy Programs at Facebook, Sherry Dzinoreva said that they were happy to partner with the bank on the launch of the program in Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire. She added that the program ensures that youths are accessible to digital skills. According to her the program support youths with getting the fair opportunities where they can apply their expertise, talents, and ideas to improve the economic and social development of Africa.
African Development Bank’s Director of Human Capital, Youth, and Skills Development Oley Dibba-Wadda said that working together with policymakers, donors, private sectors and various stakeholders can help secure a brighter future for African youths. He added that the initiative looks forward to empowering young African women to lead the African digital revolution. He said that such like initiatives could help stimulate inclusive economic growth and also put the whole of Africa at the forefront of technological innovations. Moreover, it can ensure that African digital transformation is led and managed by the youths in Africa.