World Bank Partners With Smart Africa To Expand Digital Skills Initiative in Africa

Editorial Desk
By Editorial Desk 4 Min Read

The World Bank has partnered with Smart Africa to elevate the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) initiative from a national to a regional level as part of the Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP).

This strategic move aims to bolster regional integration of digital markets through a substantial USD 20 million grant spanning five years.

This expansion will capitalize on the existing SADA implementation and AReg4DT program to cultivate a new generation of informed policymakers and regulators across Africa.

These individuals will possess the necessary knowledge to harness the potential of sustainable and inclusive digital transformation through innovative policy and regulatory approaches. Collectively, they will contribute to the establishment of a unified Digital Market in Africa.

The scale-up initiative targets 30,000 unique policymakers and decision-makers from all African countries, with a specific focus on achieving 40% female participation. With the World Bank’s steadfast commitment to digital transformation in Africa, this grant is poised to make a substantial impact on regional integration and the swift adoption of a Single Digital Market for Africa.

Originally launched by the Smart Africa Alliance with seed funding of approximately thirty thousand US dollars, the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) kickstarted its journey by conducting online training sessions for policymakers and decision-makers in August 2020.

With initial grant support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (BMZ/GIZ), SADA has played a pivotal role in advancing digital skills and fostering a vibrant learning environment across Africa.

SADA’s primary objective is to bridge the digital skills gap in African nations, enhancing employability and meeting the evolving talent requirements of African citizens. To date, SADA has successfully trained over 7,000 beneficiaries from 35 countries in Africa on a diverse range of digital transformation topics.

In response to the partnership with the World Bank, Mr. Lacina Koné, the CEO of Smart Africa, emphasized the importance of addressing the continent’s digital skills gap for both current and future workforces. He expressed his enthusiasm for the new milestone that SADA is set to achieve, thanks to the collaboration with the World Bank.

Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa and the Middle East, highlighted the significance of DTfA/WARDIP in shaping a connected, innovative, and inclusive future for West Africa.

Beyond reshaping the digital landscape, the initiative aims to promote regional integration through collaboration and strategic investments, fostering a dynamic digital ecosystem that empowers local communities and businesses to thrive in the digital era.

As the implementation progresses, SADA will prioritize competency-based skills training to cultivate a pool of talented individuals for the African job market and beyond.

Furthermore, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing advocacy for integrating ICT and digital skills into Africa’s educational system. SADA’s training portfolio for teachers and students will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects to address this need.

Recognizing the diverse digital skilling requirements in Africa, SADA has identified five main target groups and devised a multifaceted approach to cater to each group.

These groups include Policy and Decision Makers, Youth and Entrepreneurs, Teachers and Students, Digital Experts, and the General Public.

By uniting existing initiatives and leveraging the convening power of the Smart Africa Alliance, SADA aims to implement solutions collaboratively with countries and renowned international and private sector organizations such as the World Bank, ITU, BMZ, GIZ, IEEE, GSMA, USTTI, and major tech companies.

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