African Development Bank launches digital tool to help African youth learn to code

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Microsoft have inaugurated the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform, an online tool to provide digital skills to African youths across the continent.

A statement by AfDB said the platform was inaugurated at the 2019 African Economic Conference in Egypt with a view to promoting continuous learning culture among young people and build their capacity to shape the continent’s future.

The event drew Heads of Government, ministers, leaders from the private sector and academia to discuss how the new tool and other technological innovations could be applied to spur development on the continent.

Hendrina Doroba, AfDB Acting Director for Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, described youth employment and skills development challenge as a complex issue that required systemic thinking and partnerships.

According to Doroba, this is critical in addressing the existing skills gap and link the 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,” she said

Doroba noted that the platform teaches technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing and would 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,” she added.

Ghada Khalifa, the Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, emphasised the need for everyone to have equal opportunity to benefit from the technology.

“A defining challenge of our time is ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to benefit from technology.

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“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 this, we can help build a knowledge-based economy in Africa that leaves no person behind,” Khalifa said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Coding for Employment Programme is a crucial part of the AfDB’s strategic agenda to create 25 million jobs by 2025 as well as equip 50 million African youths with competitive skills.

The bank piloted the programme in five countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft.

The bank said it is currently developing 14 ultra-modern centres specialised in ICT and entrepreneurship skills trainings for youths.

“The goal is to scale up the programme to 130 centres of excellence across the continent over a 10-year period,” the statement read in part.

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