The African Development Bank (AfDB) and technology solutions giant, Microsoft, on Tuesday today launched the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform, an online tool to provide digital skills to African youths across the continent.
The platform, launched at the 2019 African Economic Conference in held in Egypt, aims to promote a continuous learning culture among young people and build their capacity to shape the continent’s future.
The platform teaches technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing and will be constantly adapted to respond to market demand. It is accessible on mobile devices, even in low internet connectivity settings and has an affordable, easy-to-navigate, secured and private interface.
Commenting on the initiative, the AfDB’s acting director for Human Capital, Youth & Skills Development, Hendrina Doroba, said: “The youth employment and skills development challenge is a complex issue that requires systemic thinking and bold partnerships … to address the existing skills gap and link youth to decent and sustainable employment.
“The skills training platform launched today is a testament to the impact that such partnerships can achieve and the Bank looks forward to strengthening similar partnerships”, the banker added.
In his remarks during the launch, Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, Ghada Khalifa, noted that “a defining challenge of our time is ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to benefit from technology.
“Forward-thinking initiatives such as the digital training platform represent our commitment to helping drive the momentum needed. Though there is still much work to be done, we believe that through dynamic partnerships such as these, we can help build a knowledge-based economy in Africa that leaves no person behind”, the technology expert projected.
The Coding for Employment Programme is a crucial part of the AfDB’s strategic agenda to create 25 million jobs by 2025, and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills.
The bank piloted the programme in five countries, namely Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft and is currently developing 14 ultra-modern centres specialized in ICT and entrepreneurship skills trainings for youth.
The goal is to scale up the programme to 130 centers of excellence across the continent over a 10-year period. It will create nine million jobs by building synergies with the public and the private sector globally to deliver demand-driven, agile and collaborative skills to empower young people to become innovative players in the digital economy.
The launching of the Coding for Employment training platform, which was witnessed by heads of state and government, ministers and leaders from the private sector and academia, created a forum to discuss how this new tool and other technological innovations could be used to spur development across the continent.