SAP exits Africa Code Week initiative

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 16 Apr 2024
Africa Code Week helped integrate coding into the national curricula of seven African countries.
Africa Code Week helped integrate coding into the national curricula of seven African countries.

Software giant SAP is bowing out of the AfricaCode Week initiative, as it shifts its focus to its employability and ‘learning to earning’ skills development programmes.

Spearheaded by SAP in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, the digital skills development initiative has benefitted over 17 million African youth since inception, in partnership with Unesco, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa and Irish Aid.

In a statement, SAP says as it exits the initiative, its partners will continue taking the initiative to the marginalised regions of Africa.

“From 2024, SAP corporate social responsibility has shifted its focus to skills for employability and ‘learning to earning’ pathways and will therefore pass the baton to Unesco to continue the mission of Africa Code Week,” notes Claire Gillissen-Duval, SAP senior director of corporate social responsibility for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Middle and Eastern Europe.

“Through our dedication, we worked towards ensuring every young mind is equipped for success in the ever-changing landscape of the modern world. While we have achieved incredible results thus far, there is more work to be done.”

Gillissen-Duval points out the initiative helped integrate coding and computational thinking into the national curricula of seven African countries, advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2023, the programme impacted over 2.4 million youth, of which approximately 46% were female. Over 1 200 workshops were held, mobilising 25 550 teachers across Africa in the year, with participating countries including Tunisia, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco.

Last year, Africa Code Week announced a two-year action plan as part of the second phase of the coding initiative, which included engaging governments across the continent to play a greater role in fostering the adoption of coding in their countries' schools.

“Our overarching goal was to integrate coding into national curricula, and we achieved this by maintaining active engagement with Ministries of Education throughout Africa, ensuring our youth have access to a comprehensive skill set that is increasingly indispensable,” says Gillissen-Duval.

Africa faces a growing demand for digital skills, with a projected 70% of jobs requiring them by 2030. Recognising a need to upskill students and educators across the continent, SAP launched its digital skills programme nine years ago.

Last year, the company’s research report “Africa’s Tech Skills Scarcity Revealed”, highlighted the challenges and opportunities for African organisations seeking greater fourth industrial revolution skills availability.

“As we champion equal access to education, we believe future skills will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of tomorrow's workforce,” concludes Gillissen-Duval.