Initiative to train 1m African software devs reaches SA

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 02 Sept 2022

South Africa is now the second African nation to introduce the one million developers for Africa programme, after it was rolled out in Kenya.

This comes as a recent survey revealed the skills gap and unmet demand for skilled talent continues to inhibit the growth of the local ICT sector and economy.

The #1MillionDevs4Africa programme, led by the Power Learn Project (PLP), is collaborative effort between PLP, Adanian Labs SA and the ICRD Group’s Startup Business Campus.

Officially launched at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre this week, the programme aims to train one million software developers across the continent by 2027.

According to the organisers, the South African leg of the programme is in accordance with president Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment to a “skills revolution”, so that the country realises the opportunity the fourth industrial revolution offers.

As a result, PLP, in partnership with Startup Business Campus, are looking to build a large talent pool that’s ready to build local solutions that scale globally, support the local and global tech industry, provide employment for young people and solve pertinent local challenges.

“In the 21st century knowledge-based economic system, the wealth of our nations will not be based on what is found beneath the ground, but what is found between the ears,” says Lucky Litelu, founder and CEO of Startup Business Campus, and head of partnerships, incubation and investments.

“Startup Business Campus is super-excited to partner up with PLP on this exciting high-impact capacity-building initiative that seeks to unlock Africa’s digital economy and create pathways to sustainable prosperity for young people on the continent.”

Launched in 2022 in Kenya, PLP is a Pan-African impact organisation that provides training, knowledge and opportunities in smart technology for the underserved youth across Africa.

With the transfer of skills, skills development and technological capacity flagged as critical to developing solutions for unemployment and underemployment in SA, and Africa as a whole, the organisation decided to bring the #1MillionDevs4Africa programme to the country.

Mumbi Ndung’u, chief growth and operations officer for PLP, states: “Our goal is to drive transformative change for the youth of Africa through technology skilling. The programme will offer online junior software development training, consisting of curated programming languages, as well as a soft skills component in employability, entrepreneurship and their mental well-being with our health partner AfyaRekod, in order to enable the learners to not only acquire entry-level smart technology jobs but to also be wholesome members of the community.

“Through support from partners, the course will be covered on full scholarships, so the learners’ only concern is to learn and absorb as much as they can, as they prepare to navigate the digital revolution with us.”

In the pilot phase of the South African programme, PLP aims to train 1 000 software developers in the country over four months.

The courses range from programming languages such as Python and dart programming with Flutter, to Blockchain 101, databases, data science and entrepreneurial skills.

The learners will then have opportunities for hands-on practical experience through a proof of work module, and will earn a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

“Upon completion of the course, learners will have access to a number of opportunities and alternative educational pathways through the organisation, ranging from internships and proof of work opportunities, or venture studio and incubator connections if they want to explore entrepreneurship,” adds Ndung’u.

Over the next few months, PLP is also looking to launch five more pilot countries, namely Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda, with West and North Africa envisioned for phase two of the programme.

“We are all working towards the Pan-African dream of building relevant capacity to extract value from the fourth industrial revolution. We invite our partners and especially our learners from across Africa to join us on this journey of transformation,” concludes John Kamara, chairman of the PLP board.

The scholarship programme is now officially accepting applications. To apply, click here.