As the world moves towards a fourth industrial revolution, the demand for digitization across health, education, and other sectors are on the rise. Digital innovations have the power to solve the continent’s development challenges and are generating new job opportunities. This is despite the fact that digital divide in Africa still persists and critical skills gaps pose serious challenges to youth securing quality and decent work in a rapidly changing workforce.
And The African Development Bank, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft and Facebook is banking on these emerging trends to launch the Coding for Employment Program at the African Innovation Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The program that is targeting to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa will involve training youth in demand-driven Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum while matching graduates directly with ICT jobs unleashing the next generation of young digital innovators from the continent.
“Coding for Employment accelerates investments in Africa’s most valuable resource, its young women, and men. That’s why The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to join forces with the African Development Bank to help every young African reach their full potential. Our partnership with the African Development Bank will establish 130 Centers of Excellence across Africa to help bridge the gap between the digital hiring news of employers and the skills of Africa’s youth,” asserted Mamadou Biteye, OBE, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Managing Director for Africa.
Over the last 15 years, the African Development Bank has invested US$1.64 billion in programs to prepare youth for careers in science, technology, and innovation. Putting youth at the centre of Africa’s inclusive economic growth agenda is at the forefront of the African Development Bank’s investments and its “High 5s” priorities —building businesses, feeding the continent, expanding power and integration, and improving the quality of life for the people across the continent by preparing youth for today’s competitive digital world.
“By working together with the private sector, donors, policy-makers, and other stakeholders, we can secure a brighter future for young African women and men. As part of this new Program, we seek to cultivate the next generation of innovators and to empower young women to lead the continent’s digital revolution. Investments in youth through programs like Coding for Employment can stimulate inclusive economic growth, put Africa and its youth on the cutting edge of technological innovations and ensure the digital transformation of Africa is led and managed by young Africans for the benefit of the people of Africa,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank.
“Coding for Employment ensures digital skills are accessible to young people and supports youth with securing meaningful opportunities where they can apply their talents, ideas, and expertise to advance the continent’s economic and social development,” said Sherry Dzinoreva, Head of Policy Programs at Facebook.
The Coding for Employment Program is at the center of the African Development Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative, which aims to put Africa’s youth population that is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050 on a path to prosperity. By 2025, the Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative will equip 50 million youth with employable skills and create 25 million jobs in agriculture, information communications and technology and other key industries across Africa.