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Women Get 50% Slots as ADB’s Digital Skills Centres Open in Nigeria

Women Get 50% Slots as ADB’s Digital Skills Centres Open in Nigeria
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Women applicants will get half of the slots available at two new digital skills training centres opened in Nigeria by the African Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB-backed Coding For Employment Programme opened two of the centres in Nigeria at Covenant University in Ogun State and Gombe State University, Gombe State, while the third centre of excellence is ‌on Kenya’s University of Nairobi campus, according to the bank. 

The digital training centres of the ADB Coding for Employment programme will set aside half of their initial training slots for women applicants, the bank announced as part of activities to mark the International Girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Day.

women-get-50%-slots-nigeria-digital-skills-centres
Professor Abiodun Adebayo, Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, cuts the ribbon at the new Coding For Employment Centre of Excellence on the university’s campus in Ogun State, Nigeria.

The Coding for Employment program, which ADB says equips African youth with the digital skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the global digital economy, is part of a foundational pipeline for girls and young women to pursue science and technology-related careers.

ADB.

ADB: Why Digital Skills Matter for African Youth

The Coding for Employment program, which ADB says equips African youth with the digital skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the global digital economy, is part of a foundational pipeline for girls and young women to pursue science and technology-related careers.

The Coding For Employment held virtual and in-person ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the three new centres of excellence on March 8, 2022, with ceremonies that were held at Covenant University and the University of Nairobi attended by ADB representatives, Coding for Employment partners and university staff. 

“This launch is a reflection of the Bank’s strong commitment to creating a world where gender equality is true in the classroom, in the boardroom, and in every sector of the economy in order to build a more inclusive, innovative, and resilient African society,” Martha Phiri, Bank Director for Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development said in virtual remarks.

Initially, the centres will serve participants in Coding for Employment’s Digital Ambassadors programme, a new, intensive peer-to-peer training model which the bank says will expand digital skills to more African youth, especially in rural communities where internet connectivity is low.

The launch event also included a virtual discussion on the role of women in Africa’s digital economy and persistent gender disparities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, which organizes the Girls in ICT Day, only 30% of the world’s tech science and technology professionals are women.

“Socio-cultural norms, beliefs, and bias have long informed how women are perceived and limited the opportunities for women to pursue careers in the technology field. Breaking these biases requires exposing young girls to coding and to STEM-related fields very early on, for them to see it as a viable career path,” Olatomiwa Williams, Microsoft’s Nigeria Country Manager, the tech firm that is a Coding for Employment partner.

The new centres of excellence are equipped with 50 computers, ergonomic furniture in classroom-style learning stations, and informal networking areas. Students enrolled in Coding for Employment programs gain access to free courses in web design, app development, data science, and digital marketing, among others, according to the bank.

The Coding for Employment Program is a key component of the African Development Bank Group’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative, which aims to put Africa’s youth on a path to prosperity. By 2025, the Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative aims to equip 50 million youth with employable skills and create 25 million jobs in agriculture, ICT fields, and other key industries across Africa. 

The centres’ opening, ADB says, brings to seven the number of Coding for Employment-branded learning spaces across the continent, including in Rwanda, Senegal, and Côte d’Ivoire. Coding for Employment plans to open 130 centres across Africa by 2025.

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