All forecasts show, by the year 2020 there will be about half a billion internet users across Africa. Naturally this presents a formidable growth opportunity especially for businesses and digital entrepreneurs operating in the cyberspace. However, Africa runs the risk of having offshore businesses and entrepreneurs to come and capitalize on this emerging market and is all because of the digital gap between Africa and the rest of the industrialized nations.
To mitigate this problem, Google has set out to equip the youth with relevant digital and tech skills. Skills that will place the youth in a better position to not only actively participate, but also be in the lead in capitalizing on growing potential of e-commerce across Africa.
Currently, the unemployment rate in many African countries is high (South Africa 35%, Kenya 17% and Nigeria 13%). The increasing use of internet across Africa could become a source of income for many of these unemployed youths. However, they first need to be equipped with the relevant digital skills that will help them leverage on the increasing number of Africans using the internet.
Google has embarked on an ambitious project to equip one million youths in Africa with the relevant digital skills over the course of the next one year. By addressing the under-developed digital skills, Google hopes to help African economies to get the most out of the internet.
Google is supporting DigifyAfrica run two training programs:
Digify Bytes: This program aims at helping African youths develop digital careers.
Digify Pro: This program gives learners a 3-month immersion learning session where the get to develop digital specialists’ skills enough to secure them jobs in companies or digital agencies.
On April 12, Google launched DigifyAfrica.com, an online portal for learning, housing a wide range of lessons on digital skills. The portal is furnished with tutorials and courses. Anyone located anywhere in Africa has unlimited access to the portal provided they can get online. Given the high and often restrictive cost of the internet in Africa, Google has designed the portal to be as light as possible to minimize the data charges on the users’ end.
These Digify programs are all completely free and will provide users tools and knowledge on subjects such as establishing an online presence, web design, social media marketing, user experience, content creation and app development.
Google has some 65 Googlers on standby across nine different countries ready to help the users in as far as the Livity education content, mentorship and sometimes training is concerned. Google is further talking to potential partners across Africa on how the digital skills training could be further scaled and reach as many youths in the continent as possible.
So this is a call to actions to all African youths out there. Africa just like the rest of the world is becoming a digital economy, and with it, new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurship are springing up. This is your opportunity to leverage on that growing digital economy.