Bid to Spread Careers Coding Set to Focus on Female Skills Growth

In an attempt to spread coding literacy among African youth, with a key focus on female skills development and training, Africa Code Week, officially in its third year, is set to take place this October.

Inaugurated in 2015 by SAP Corporate Social Responsibility EMEA and deveral public and private sector partners, the initiative has a long-term goal of empowering more than 200 000 teachers and positively impacting the lives of 5 million children and youth in the next 10 years.

In 2016, more than 426 000 young Africans across 30 countries learned computer coding basics as part of Africa Code Week, beating the initial target of 150 000 by a long way.

This year, SAP’s target is to reach 500 000 youth across 35 African countries from October 18-25.

Claire Gillissen-Duval, director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and global project lead for Africa Code Week, said: “By learning the new language of coding in an open, supportive environment, young Africans are able to take advantage of the immense opportunities presented by the digital revolution and become active players in the global economy.”

By 2040, Africa is projected to have a working age population of more than 1 billion.

“Considering the growing global shortage in technical skills, Africa has a unique opportunity to take a lead role in powering the global economy. However, the lack of widely available education in science, technology, engineering and maths could undermine the continent’s ability to equip this growing workforce with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.

“Africa Code Week i sone way of reaching out to even remote corners of the continent and creating interest in the oportunities only the digital world can offer. We hope that this will help to inspire young Africans to pursue careers that will drive the continent’s digital transformation.”

Prevailing stereotypes and cultural barriers typically mean that women are 1.6 times more likely to report a lack of digital skills as a barrier to their participation in the digital economy.

“If Africa is to realise its potential and provide the workforce that will power the global economic engine in the long run, more must be done to empower girls and women by promoting digital skills development and improve their job prospects,” Gillissen-Duval said.

Africa Code Week is now actively supported by a fast-growing network of strategic partners including Unesco YouthMobile, BMZ, the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre, Google, ALink Telecom, Fondation Life Builders, Camar Education and 10 African governments.

The 2017 Africa Code Week initiative will take place across 35 countries from October 18-25. For more information about Africa Code Week, please visit africacodeweek.org.