AfDB launches digital tool to help African youth learn to code

coding 924920 640The African Development Bank (AfDB) and technology firm Microsoft have launched the digital training platform ‘Coding for Employment’, an online tool to provide African youth with digital skills across the continent

The platform, launched at the 2019 African Economic Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, aims to promote a continuous learning culture among young people and build their capacity to shape the continent’s future.

Hendrina Doroba, the bank’s acting director for Human Capital, Youth & Skills Development, 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 is a testament to the impact that such partnerships can achieve and the bank looks forward to strengthening similar partnerships.”

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 easy-to-navigate, secure and private interface.

Ghada Khalifa, director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, said, “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 Coding for Employment Programme is part of the bank’s strategic agenda to create 25mn jobs by 2025 and to equip 50mn African youth with competitive skills.

The bank piloted the programme in five countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire) in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft is currently developing 14 centres specialised in ICT and entrepreneurship skills training for youth.

The goal is to scale up the programme to 130 centres of excellence across the continent over a 10-year period.

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