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SAP Africa Code Week goes fully online, intros mobile app

By , ITWeb senior news journalist.
Africa , 17 Aug 2020
Africa Code Week 2020 will focus on training millions of girl coders.
Africa Code Week 2020 will focus on training millions of girl coders.

The 2020 edition of SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) will officially kick off in October, as the initiative goes fully online, with a number of new developments aimed at empowering Africa’s youth with digital skills, including a mobile app learning platform.

Introduced by software giant SAP, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and partners in 2015, ACW aims to spark interest in coding through fun and interactive community workshops for youngsters.

The initiative has grown from the 88 000 pupils who participated in the first year, to the 3.85 million children and 39 000 teachers who ran over 55 000 coding workshops in 37 African countries last year.

Now in its sixth year, ACW bills itself as the largest digital literacy initiative on the continent. With the 2020 edition of ACW shifting to a virtual model, this is the latest tech event to be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as event organisers try to minimise the spread of the virus.

Africa has recorded over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 770 000 recoveries and more than 24 000 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

The online event will allow expansion of the programme’s reach to 54 African countries, with all learning materials translated into Portuguese and French for the large Francophone and Lusophone African communities.

This year, the initiative allows African countries and participating organisations one week of their choice in October, to dedicate to training school pupils.

The ACW initiative says it will continue to work closely with ministries of education across the African continent, with a view to promoting sustainable digital skills development capacity.

Faith Mangope, South African TV news anchor, female tech entrepreneur and Africa Code Week ambassador, explains: “A big part of this year’s Africa Code Week efforts will be focused on engaging more women teachers and students. Globally, women hold only 24% of jobs in the ICT sector, and there are 250 million fewer women online than men. Our mission is to ensure every child has an equal opportunity to attain the skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the future workforce.”

The ACW mobile app will also be introduced this year, providing easy access to smartphone material in support of all-inclusive learning, according to SAP.

Another new development this year is the AfriCANCode Challenge coding competition aimed at engaging participants through a number of fun and exciting activities.

This competition invites youth, aged between nine and 16, either individually or in teams, to use their skills and creativity to solve problems. Two competition themes have been identified: ‘Courageous Coders’, focused on how technology can change the world, and ‘Plugged-in Pupils’, which asks youngsters to imagine the potential related to tomorrow’s connected school.

Claudio Muruzabal, SAP president of EMEA South, says in addition to the new virtual components of the 2020 ACW initiative, hundreds of SAP expert volunteers from across the globe will play their part online by working with NGOs and other partner organisations to provide on-the-ground support during this year’s activities.

“Offering accessible, hands-on digital support to Africa’s youth and teachers helps put people in a position to meaningfully participate in today’s digital economy. This is vital and SAP’s commitment to Africa Code Week remains firm.

“Through invaluable partnerships with UNESCO, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, Irish Aid and all the partner NGOs across Africa, the 2020 ACW initiative can effectively leverage the skillsets of networks and knowledgeable local ICT experts to ensure every workshop is a sound success,” notes Muruzabal.

For more information about Africa Code Week or to get involved, visit the ACW Web site.

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