Google yesterday announced a commitment to train one million young Africans in digital skills in the next year.
In realising this commitment, Google is supporting its partner Livity Africa to run two free training programs: Digify Bytes to offer digital skills to young people looking to develop a digital career; and Digify Pro, a 3-month immersion program for digital specialists.
“The Digital Skills Program is aimed at helping more Kenyans play an integral part in the digital economy. With digital skills, everyone can succeed online, start a new business, grow their existing one, or share their passion,” said Google Country Manager, Charles Murito.
To support the program, Google also launched an online-learning portal – digifyafrica.com– with a range of digital skills tutorials and courses, which will be available to anyone in Africa. The portal has been designed to be “light” to avoid excessive data usage, a major challenge for many African users.
These programs have already launched in Nigeria, Kenya & South Africa, and will be scaled to reach more people in the next 12 months. A group of 65 volunteer Googlers from around the world are helping the Livity team with content development, ‘training the trainers’ and, in some cases, delivering the training sessions.
These initiatives will see people in Kenya and Africa as a whole trained on subjects ranging from content creation, digital strategy, web design, social media and app development the aim being to help young Africans develop the skills to build businesses, create jobs and contribute to economic growth. “The internet is at the heart of economic growth. It is the great equalizer that breaks down barriers and provides opportunities, not only to the privileged in New York, but also to someone in a remote part of Kenya. We are going to equip the youth with the digital skills they need, to help align them with the market needs and keep the Kenyan growth engine running” Murito said.
Internet adoption in Africa is growing fast — to an expected 490M users by 2020 — but digital skills adoption has been slow. Youth unemployment rates are high across the region — 35% in South Africa, 17% in Kenya, 13% in Nigeria. This presents huge opportunities for African businesses and young digital entrepreneurs. Developing digital entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities for young people is critical to Africa’s transformative growth.