The youth of Africa have been urged to contribute to the sustainable development of their countries through Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) innovation and entrepreneurship.
Mrs Ernestina Edem Appiah, the founder of Ghana Code Club, an innovator of code clubs in basic schools in Ghana gave the advice in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency.
Mrs Appiah was among 30 African women delegates who attended a recent event of the “#eSkills4Girls” of the African Media Agency (AMA) – Digital Skills Development for African Girls and Women – Africa Meet-up in Kigali, Rwanda.
It was organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in collaboration with SAP, UNESCO and GIZ.
The objective of the #eSkills4Girls initiative was to help overcome the gender digital divide and contribute to improved digital skills and employment opportunities for girls and women in emerging and developing countries.
It was also to create a platform for female technological leaders in Africa to share experiences and knowledge and brought together entrepreneurs, activists and mentors who are involved in initiatives aimed at improving girls’ digital skills and participation in the digital world.
The statement said there were still huge challenges facing women in Africa’s digital revolution, adding that; “prevailing cultural barriers and stereotypes means women are 1.6 times more likely to report a lack of digital skills as a barrier to their involvement in the digital economy.”
There are currently 250 million fewer women online than men, it said and we need to urgently close this gap. This initiative of #eSkills4Girls would empower girls and women particularly in emerging and developing countries to promote digital skills to improve their job prospects in an ever increasing digital world.
The statement said despite great strides to ensure adequate education opportunities across the sub-Saharan Africa, a UNESCO study found that as many as one in every three children were still out of school.
In a separate study by the Brooking Institute, a data pointed out that an estimated 61 million African children would reach adolescence without even the most basic literacy and numeracy skills, it said.
“We need to prepare Africa’s youth to be critical thinkers so they are ready to face the challenges of the future. Initiatives such as #eSkills4Girls further builds on the work of UNESCO towards this regard,” it said.
The statement said: “It is essential that youth are not only exposed to technology, but properly educated and equipped with the necessary tools and digital literacy skills to successfully join the workforce.
It said efforts to drive Africa’s digital transformation were best supported with large-scale skills development and training interventions such as the celebrated Africa Code week initiative.
“This year we aim to train half a million African youth. By teaching youth basic coding skills, we are tapping into Africa’s most precious resource – its people and unlocking a new phase of growth and prosperity on the African continent,” the statement said.