Africa Code Week, an initiative of SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software, kicked-off this month at a function held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Since its inception in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced over 1.8 million African youth to coding skills in multiple African countries while facilitating the integration of ICT education in the school curriculum for more than 28,000 teachers and educators across the continent.
The fourth edition of the increasingly popular programme will take place this October with set dates for countries to accommodate the school calendar, Africa Code Week aims to engage an additional 600,000 youth across 36 African countries in 2018.
South African Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Hon. Dr Siyabonga Cwele, welcomed this year’s initiative.
He called on public and private sector stakeholders to join forces and drive the advancement of digital skills development among youth.
“Content is going to be a key game changer for us as a continent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Initiatives such as the Africa Code Week are helping us to develop the local content which will drive demand for internet services,” Cwele explained.
“Crucially, we are going to rely on partnerships with the private sector and other social partners to develop the digital skills the continent needs to be competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We also need to introduce coding to learners at an early stage,” he continued.
According to Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is forcing a complete rethink of how education is approached, with a strong focus on lifelong skills development.
“As the African workforce swells by 112 million people over the next two years, initiatives such as Africa Code Week will be instrumental in ensuring that our youth can be active participants in the global digital economy,” she explained
World Bank data shows that Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy is expected to continue its steady recovery with economic growth estimated at 3.6% between 2019 and 2020. However, 40 million young people are currently unemployed, with millions more trapped in poverty.
In fact, nearly 35% of Africa’s youth lack the basic skills they need to perform a job, with technology skills an area of concern, a pressing challenge that requires strong private, public and non-profit partnerships to drive sustainable learning impact across the continent.
Placing an equally sharp focus on the gender divide in developing countries, Africa Code Week key partners SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) joined forces in 2017 as part of the G20 #eSkills4girls initiative.
“For Africa to take its rightful place as a key player in the global economy, we must collectively drive digital skills development while placing a strong emphasis on encouraging female participation in an effort to bridge the gender gap. Female participation in last year’s Africa Code Week stood at 46.5%, indicating huge strides towards empowering girls in the digital century and fostering gender equality in African ICT education,” Smith elaborated.
For the third year in a row, Google, the famous multinational digital tech company, is also supporting Africa Code Week as part of its own commitment to preparing 10 million people in Africa for tomorrow’s workplace.
In 2018, Google is supporting 53 non-profit organisations across 11 countries to empower teachers and inspire an estimated 80,000 students through computer science and coding workshops.
Since 2015, Africa Code Week has benefitted 1.8 million young Africans across 35 countries so far. It has since emerged that strong partnerships with the public, private and non-profit sectors are the driving force behind the initiative’s ambitious goals to build community capacity in ICT education across the continent