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AfDB Selects 500 Youth Ambassadors To Boost Digital Skills In Africa


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As part of activities streamlined to mark this year’s World Youth Skills Day, the Development Bank (AfDB), through its Coding for Employment Programme, selected 500 digital ambassadors to broaden the scope of such skills amongst young people in Africa.

World Youth Skills Day is celebrated on July 15 every year. It has been celebrated since 2014 after the United Nations (UN) announced its existence. The objective of the annual event, according to the UN, is to “celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship”.

Events in honor of the day tend to involve opportunities to provide young people with spaces for dialogue with educational institutions, employers, policymakers, and development partners. The up skilling of the youth has become increasingly important in light of the world slowly shifting to sustainable development.

The AfDB’s Coding for Employment programme was launched in 2018 to equip African youth with demand-driven information and communication technology skills to position them competitively for the global labour market.

Meanwhile, the programme has established information and communication technology centers with partner universities across its countries of operation and provided digital skills training to over 150,000 youth, including 135,000 reached through the Coding for Employment eLearning platform and the Digital Nigeria platform.

The programme selected 500 change makers, 45 percent of whom are women, from four countries for the pilot Digital Ambassadors Programme.
The selected Digital Ambassadors will embark on a three-month course during which they will be equipped with in-demand digital skills, such as software development, as well as soft skills, such as problem solving, project management and communication.

They will then lead a peer-to-peer training model that seeks to expand digital skills to more African youth, especially in rural communities with limited internet connectivity.

The Bank and its technical partner, Microsoft, selected the Digital Ambassadors from more than 21,000 applications received from all over Africa. For this first edition, the 500 Digital Ambassadors were selected from four countries where the Coding for Employment programme is operational, namely Côte d’Ivoire (75), Kenya (100), Nigeria (150) and Senegal (175).

AfDB’s Director for Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, Martha Phiri sad the Digital Ambassadors Programme has come at the right time when the Bank is putting finishing touches to the Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa Action Plan 2022–2025.



“The Action Plan will equip African youth with the skills that are in high demand; skills the labour market requires. Both will complement each other and will create positive impact on Africa’s workforce and lead to economic transformation”, she said.

After graduation, the Digital Ambassadors will receive information and communication technology toolkits from the Bank and Microsoft so they can offer the same training within their local communities.

The Coding for Employment Program is at the center of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which aims to propel Africa’s youth onto a path to prosperity.

By 2025, the Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy will equip 50 million youth with employable skills and create 25 million jobs in agriculture, information and communication technology and other key industries across Africa.

The Bank’s Manager for Education and Skills Development, Hendrina Doroba said: “We are delighted by the enthusiasm and the passion the candidates have shown for the program. We have sifted through all the applications to identify candidates whose background and qualifications closely match the selection criteria. The 500 candidates will not only acquire skills that can help them find work but will also be able to create their own jobs while also training others”.

One of the Digital Ambassadors, Carelle Laetitia said when she received the selection email, she felt happy and above all proud. “I know it was not easy to be selected among hundreds of talented youths. I hope to build a strong network and acquire solid digital skills in order to share them with my community”, she stressed.

Over the years, the Bank has invested $1.64 billion in programs to prepare the youth for careers in science, technology and innovation. The Digital Ambassadors Programme is aligned to the Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa, and both tie in with one of the Bank’s five priorities, improving the quality of life for the people of Africa.


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