SAP Trains 1.3m African Youths on Coding Skills

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Emma Okonji

With an ambitious target to train half a million African youths between 18 and 25, Africa Code Week, this year exceeded all expectations by empowering 1.3 million youths across 35 countries with basic coding skills.

This is a 203 per cent increase over the 2016 training, which saw nearly 427,000 youth trained across 30 African countries.

Launched in 2015 by SAP CSR EMEA in partnership with the Cape Town Science Centre and the Galway Education Centre, Africa Code Week is an award-winning initiative that is now actively supported by UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), 15 African governments, over 100 partners and 100 ambassadors across the continent.

Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Global Project Lead for Africa Code Week, Claire Gillissen-Duval, noted that “Nearly 300,000 young people across West Africa participated in this year’s Africa Code Week, with female participation standing at 42.7 per cent. 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.”

In 2017, Africa Code Week and key partner UNESCO joined the #eSkills4girls initiative launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (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.

“With an average ratio of 43 per cent female participation in coding workshops, Africa Code Week 2017 unveils a huge appetite for digital skills development among Africa’s girls. Female representation in African companies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields currently stands at only 30 per cent, requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success,” Gillissen-Duval said.

With the highest engagement ratio of 1,622 youth per 100,000 population and a total of more than 390 000 introduced to coding during this year’s edition, Cameroon wins the Africa Code Week 2017 championship. While 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.