October is the month in the year that SAP dedicates to service. For SAP Africa that means their Africa Code Week initiative, which began in 2015 and has since helped to teach a claimed 1.8 million learners.

For Africa Code Week 2018, which kicked off earlier today, SAP Africa has set itself the task of teaching a further 600 000 children across the continent, and look at more ways in which ICT skills development can become part and parcel of the education system in Africa.

Along with SAP Africa spearheading this initiative, Africa Code Week has proved a success thanks to the collaboration between the business sector and government, with both fundamentally aware that the impending fourth industrial revolution will require enhanced skills development if South Africa and the rest of the continent is going to thrive in the digital economy.

“Content is going to be a key game changer for us as a continent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Initiatives such as the Africa Code Week are helping us to develop the local content which will drive demand for internet services. Crucially, we are going to rely on partnerships with the private sector and other social partners to develop the digital skills the continent needs to be competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We also need to introduce coding to learners at an early stage,” said South African minister of Telecommunications & Postal Services, Hon. Dr Siyabonga Cwele during this morning’s launch.

In light of the current Jobs Summit taking place locally, SAP Africa is innately aware of the role that Africa Code Week plays in skills development. With unemployment and lack of skilled labour two major hurdles that plague the country and continent as a whole, SAP Africa believes initiatives such as this one can have a positive effect.

“Africa Code Week is our response: by inspiring a new generation of African youth through digital skills development, and by empowering teachers and communities with digital teaching tools, we aim to accelerate digital literacy while ensuring a more inclusive and innovation-led workforce. As the African workforce swells by 112 million people over the next two years, initiatives such as Africa Code Week will be instrumental in ensuring that our youth can be active participants in the global digital economy,” adds Cathy Smith, MD of SAP Africa.

Another important need that Africa Code Week seeks to address is gender inequality, in terms of skills development. To date, SAP Africa proudly notes that 50 percent of the aforementioned 1.8 million learners are young women.

To further drive that aspect of Africa Code Week, SAP will be turning to partners like UNESCO YouthMobile and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as it did in 2017.

“For Africa to take its rightful place as a key player in the global economy, we must collectively drive digital skills development while placing a strong emphasis on encouraging female participation in an effort to bridge the gender gap. Female participation in last year’s Africa Code Week stood at 46.5%, indicating huge strides towards empowering girls in the digital century and fostering gender equality in African ICT education,” Smith concludes.

To find out more about Africa Code Week and the activities taking place, head here.