In recognition of the United Nations’ International Youth Day this week, the sixth edition of the Africa Code Week (ACW) has officially kicked off across Africa with new developments aimed at empowering Africa’s youngsters with digital skills learning. Notably, ACW is known to be the largest digital literacy initiative in Africa since over the last five years, it has positively impacted millions of youth and thousands of teachers.
Because of the outbreak of coronavirus, the 2020 ACW efforts are shifting to a virtual model allowing the expansion of the program’s reach to 54 African countries with all learning materials translated into Portuguese, French for the large Francophone and Lusophone African communities. In addition, a new ACW mobile app is introduced providing easy access to smartphone material in support of all-inclusive learning.
The ACW initiative will continue to work closely with Ministries of Education across the African continent, with a view to promoting sustainable digital skills development capacity.
Another development for this year is the AfriCANCode Challenge which is a coding competition aimed at engaging participants through a number of fun and exciting activities. The competition invites youth from the age of 9 to 16 either individually or in teams, to use their skills and creativity to solve problems.
Two competition themes have been identified: ‘Courageous Coders’, focused on how technology can change the world, and ‘Plugged-in Pupils’, which asks the youngsters to imagine the potential related to tomorrow’s connected school.
Commenting on the AfriCANCode Challenge and the urgent need to prepare youth with digital skills learning,
In addition to the new virtual components of the 2020 ACW initiative, hundreds of SAP expert volunteers from across the globe will also play their part online by working with NGOs and other partner organisations to provide on-the-ground support during this year’s activities.
Claudio Muruzabal, SAP’s President of EMEA South says, “Offering accessible, hands-on digital support to Africa’s youth and teachers helps put people in a position to meaningfully participate in today’s digital economy. This is vital and SAP’s commitment to Africa Code Week remains firm.”
“2020 ACW initiative can effectively leverage the skillsets of networks and knowledgeable local ICT experts to ensure every workshop is a sound success,” concludes Muruzabal.
On the other hand, South African TV news anchor, female tech entrepreneur and Africa Code Week Ambassador, Ms. Faith Mangope says, “A big part of this year’s ACW efforts will be focused on engaging more women teachers and students.”
She adds that globally, women hold only 24% of jobs in the ICT sector, and there are 250 million fewer women online than men.
“Our mission is to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to attain the skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the future workforce,” she says.
Introduced by SAP, UNESCO and partners in 2015, ACW aims to spark interest in coding through fun and interactive community workshops for youth. From the 88,000 students who participated in the first year, to the 3.85 million children and 39,000 teachers who ran over 55,000+ coding workshops in 37 countries last year, the impact of the initiative has grown significantly.