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Africa Code Week and Partners Equip 17 million Youth with Digital Skills

SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) in partnership with UNESCO, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), and Irish Aid, has successfully empowered 17 million young people across 54 countries, since 2015. This is according to the program’s latest impact results. The initiative has also helped integrate coding and computational thinking into the national curricula of seven African countries, advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

 

In 2023 alone, the programme impacted over 2,4 million youth of which approximately 46% were female, demonstrating a commitment to gender equality. Over 1,200 workshops were rolled out, successfully mobilizing 25,550 teachers across Africa, with top participating countries including Tunisia, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco.

 

A multi-stakeholder approach to drive change

Africa faces a growing demand for digital skills with a projected 70% of jobs requiring them by 2030. Recognising a need to upskill both students and educators across the continent, SAP launched the digital skills program nine years ago.

 

Commenting on the journey of ACW, Claire Gillissen-Duval, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for EMEA and MEE, highlights that private-public partnerships have been intrinsic to its mission. “Our overarching goal was to integrate coding into national curricula, and we achieved this by maintaining active engagement with Ministries of Education throughout Africa, ensuring that our youth have access to a comprehensive skill set that is increasingly indispensable.”

 

Emphasising this importance, Dr Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO, agrees: “ACW has set a great example of fruitful collaborations as it demonstrates the power of partnerships to increase well-being and advance development that leaves no one behind.  It is a true embodiment of SDG Goal 17, which is about Partnerships for Sustainable Development, and we are proud at UNESCO to collaborate on this initiative into the future.”

 

Inspiring young talent to make a difference

As part of the ACW initiative, the AfriCAN Code Challenge, a pan-African competition that ignites creativity and coding skills in youth aged 8-16, was launched in 2020. Participants compete individually or in teams to develop Scratch games around a chosen theme by way of a 3-minute video reviewed by a panel of judges.

 

Over the years the challenge has grown in terms of popularity and creativity. The initiative aims to develop more coding talents to drive sustainable development and create a better world for all. In 2023, the theme challenged young minds to design multiplayer games promoting sustainable solutions for protecting life, with many of the initiatives focusing on our planet.

 

This year’s winner was Welcome to My Africa by Triaksha Goodoory, Vignesh Singh Khelawon, Alessia Rughoonundun, Palen Chuckravanen from Mauritius; followed by PaloPood by Alvinho Rodrigues, Bibiana Pinheiro, Taíssa Pereira, Celma Bernardo from Sao Tome & Principe; with CodeManiacs by  Eze Chikelu Jethro, Oruh Excel Odafe,Abubakar Ramadan and Olowode Wilson Eniola from Nigeria coming in at 3rd place.

 

To infinity and beyond: A new chapter

“As we champion equal access to education, we believe that future skills will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of tomorrow‘s workforce,” comments Gillissen-Duval. “Through our dedication, we worked towards ensuring that every young mind is equipped for success in the ever-changing landscape of the modern world. However, while we have achieved incredible results thus far, there is more work to be done.”

 

From 2024, SAP corporate social responsibility has shifted its focus to skills for employability and learning to earning pathways and will therefore pass the baton to UNESCO to continue the mission of ACW. “We are excited to see how they will propel ACW to new heights,” she concludes.

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