JOHANNESBURG - MORE than 1,3 million youth across 35 countries in the continent have been empowered with basic coding skills as the Africa Code Week exceeded expectations.
This represents an increase of over 200 percent from 2016 when nearly 427 000 youth were trained across 30 African countries.
About 300 000 young people across West Africa participated in this year’s Africa Code Week, with female participation standing at 42,7 percent. Nearly 2 500 teachers received coding training as part of Train-the-Trainer sessions organised in the region.
“We also noticed renewed interest and investment from governments in the region, which shows a growing stakeholder commitment towards improving digital skills for young Africans,” said Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP.
She is also the Global Project Lead for Africa Code Week.
Launched in 2015 in partnership with the Cape Town Science Centre and the Galway Education Centre, Africa Code Week is an award-winning initiative now supported by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), YouthMobile, Google and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Some 15 African governments and over 100 partners and 100 ambassadors across the continent have endorsed the initiative.
In 2017, Africa Code Week and UNESCO joined the #eSkills4girls initiative launched by BMZ to overcome the gender digital divide.
The latter awarded 20 grants to 20 organisations, improving digital skills and employment perspectives for 8 259 girls and women in emerging and developing countries. This year, 60 Google Micro Grants were awarded to community organizations in ten African countries running initiatives to expose over 83 800 students to computer science.
Gillissen-Duval said with an average ratio of 43 percent female participation in coding workshops, Africa Code Week 2017 unveiled a huge appetite for digital skills development among Africa’s girls.
Female representation in African companies in science, technology, engineering and maths-related fields currently stand at only 30 percent.
Cameroon won the Africa Code Week 2017 championship with the highest engagement ratio of 1 622 youth per 100 000 population and a total of more than 390 000 youth introduced to coding.
Morocco’s total engagement of 378 000 placed it second for overall participation.
Mauritius sported the second-best engagement ratio of 1 545 youth engaged per 100 000 population.
Botswana took third place with an engagement ratio of 1 168 per 100 000.
Ghana recorded the highest participation numbers, with total participation of over 138 000 and a ratio of 480 youth engaged per 100 000 population.
Africa Code Week ran between October 18 and 25.
Claas Kuehnemann, Acting Managing Director of SAP Africa, said over the past three years the initiative grew into one of the best-supported and most far-reaching digital skills development initiatives in Africa.
A broad range of governments, NGOs, private sector, educators, students and scholars all contributed to empowering one of the largest and most youthful workforces on the planet.
“We extend our gratitude to everyone who made this year such a resounding success, and look forward to building on its best practices over the years to come,” Kuehnemann said.
– CAJ News