Yesterday, SAP Africa announced the launch of the inaugural Africa Code Week (ACW) with the go-live scheduled for October 1-10, 2015. Through this initiative, an estimated 20 000 children across the continent ranging in age from 8 to 24 years will participate in software coding workshops across eleven African countries: South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia. The ACW has been developed in partnership with Simplon.co, the Cape Town Science Centre and the Galway Education Centre, with the purpose of empowering youth, teachers and parents with the language of software programming using a freely available “Scratch” ” system to help bridge the digital skills gap across many areas in Africa.
The launch coincides with the commencement of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for Africa entitled ‘Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future’ which is being hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. ACW speaks to the future prosperity of Africa and provides a sustainable, innovation-driven solution to the socio-economic challenges faced by the continent.
According to WEF1, Africa has the largest youth demographic across the globe. Over the next 25 years, it is estimated that the continent’s working-age population will double to one billion, exceeding that of China and India. Compounding the potential problem in relation to this boom in working-age youth is the lack of education specifically technology training. It is estimated that throughout Africa, less than 1% of children leave school with basic coding skills, yet government, the private sector and Non-Profit companies are unable to fill positions with employees holding this very skill set.
Through a decade-long relationship with FIRST Lego League®, SAP has identified that gamification provides the optimal environment for children to rapidly absorb technology skills. Africa Code Week is an extension of this thinking; children learn best when they are having fun – and the pedagogic approach to ACW provides that platform.
“SAP Africa is proud to be part of the Africa Code Week programme that will help provide African youth with the critical skill set required in the highly competitive 21st century job market. This exciting efforts supplements SAP Africa’s Skills for Africa initiative that is promoting both skills development and job creation across the continent,” said Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa. “It will also contribute to Africa being a net exporter of technology skills to the rest of the world in years to come.”
SAP recognises the necessity to empower the youth of Africa in the demanding era of the Digital Economy, where no industry will remain untouched by computers, software and the unending need for meaningful data. As part of its ‘Skills for Africa’ initiative, SAP Africa aims to train up an additional 10 000 qualified SAP consultants by 2020.