"It's all about helping young people start new careers and create opportunities for themselves," says Segun Abodunrin. He’s one of 1 million young Africans who have taken advantage of Google’s digital skills training program, and who are finding their way in the world of digital.
Last April, we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train 1 million young people in the region. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve met that target. One million Africans have now been trained and equipped with the skills they need to navigate and take advantage of the opportunities of the web.
But that’s not the best part of the story. Through these new digital experts, the continent is seeing an increase in the number of young people equipped with digital skills—a domino effect of sorts.
In 2016, Segun Abodunrin hired his first two employees in Lagos. Just a year before Segun had never thought about opening his own business. But after taking our digital skills training program, he went on to start Tway Media, a digital consulting and training company credited to have trained 5,000 young Africans in 2016 alone.
When we announced our commitment to provide digital skills training, we believed that more needed to be done to empower more young people in Africa to succeed. The web is at the heart of economic growth across the world, and it presents opportunities for anyone to create connections and access opportunities that will positively change their lives and boost economies.
As a result of this training and other similar initiatives, we’ve discovered a new generation of Africans who are eager to explore how to take better advantage of the internet and the opportunities it offers. But the task of helping more Africans to leverage the growing digital market is one that requires continuous support from organizations, companies and also from governments. We’ve been glad to see the rising number of government-led initiatives focused on helping to train more young Africans on how to use online tools.
But there’s more to be done by governments—policies and laws still need to be passed to create the right conditions for digital entrepreneurs and businesses. Everyone needs to play a part.
So what’s next for us?
We’re now extending our commitment to help more communities outside urban centers of Africa acquire digital skills. We’ll focus on relationships at the regional, country and local community levels through partnerships that lead to jobs and business growth. We’ll do this in a variety of ways:
- We will provide offline versions of our online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas where we were unable to hold physical trainings. Our goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of location and online status, is able to access these trainings.
- We will deliver our offline trainings in Swahili, IsiZulu and Hausa. We understand the role of local languages in communicating with rural communities of Africa and want to ensure that more non-English speaking Africans get an opportunity to take these trainings.
- Our offline training effort to reach students, job seekers and business owners will continue through face-to-face trainings managed by our partners.
- We will hold regular meet-ups to drive engagement around the value of the web at the community level with those trained, Policy makers and influencers within those communities.
- Finally, we’ll continue to focus on achieving gender balance by ensuring that at least 40 percent of the people trained are women.
We’re committed to helping Africans make the most of the digital revolution. There’s never been a better time to be in Africa.