Wednesday, 13 April 2016

#Google Begins Digital Skills Training For One million Africans

Google, the American multinational technology company has announced a commitment to train 1million young Africans in digital skills in the next one year, which is undeniably a capacity building opportunity for the continent.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, Google Country Manager, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor described the initiative as an amazing opportunity for businesses and digital entrepreneurs in Africa.

According to her, if people have the right skills, they can build business, they will become more employable and can really help to boost the economy of the continent.

“In 2015 we ran a survey across South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya just to understand how Africans are using the web. And we found out that 74% of the respondents said they will prefer to use digital tools for various tasks, while 69% of respondents said the internet is their first point of call if they need to get information.

“So more and more we are seeing internet as an integral part of our lives on this continent. A Makinson report also mentioned that from 2013 to 2020, the internet would have contributed $300billion to the economy and that ecommerce will go from non existence to a $75billion industry. So the opportunities are in numbers. And there is a World Bank study that says for every 10% increase in broadband, you have a corresponding 1.38% increase in GDP.

“From the work that we do, we do hear businesses talking about the fact that the internet really makes them more productive, but for a lot of them, they are not sure how. Which is why I am really excited that today we are announcing our commitment to training 1million people across top Saharan Africa with digital skills in one year,” she said.

In realising this commitment, Google, a content aggregator is supporting its partner, Livity Africa, to run two training programs: ‘Digify Bytes’ to give digital skills to young people looking to develop a digital career; and ‘Digify Pro’, a 3-month immersion program for digital specialists.

In his remarks, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google Communications and PR Manager, West Africa, noted that the tech company is committed to providing digital opportunities and encouraging business startups for the continent and across the world.

According to him, a group of 65 volunteer Googlers from around the world are helping the team with content development, ‘training the trainers’ and, in some cases, delivering the training sessions.

To achieve this feat, the global search engine launched Digify Africa, an online-learning portal that will house a range of digital skills courses, available to anyone in Africa – free. The courses are designed to be as “light” as possible so they don’t eat up valuable data and intending learners can even learn from any Smartphone.

In general, there are nine training courses already available and Google aims to have 50 available by July. These programs have already launched in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, and will be scaled to reach more people in the next 12 months.

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