Last week we celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Day, which is observed annually on 21 April. Launched by the United Nations, the aim is to encourage the world to embrace innovation to harness the economic potential of nations. This could be through job creation as well as expanding opportunities for everyone, including women and youth.
Innovation can provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems, such as poverty eradication and the elimination of hunger. At Africa Code Week (ACW), we recognise that through creativity and innovation, we can ensure African Youth and teachers are equipped for the jobs of the 21st century.
"This is why ACW encourages creativity and innovation through technology,” explains Olajide Ademola Ajayi, ACW’s Global Coordinator. “Africa’s Technology industry is estimated to be worth $4.77 billion and is expected to double in growth by 2030 with the youth population driving this trend.”
The proof is in the pudding: ACW results speak for themselves
“The ACW programme was born, to improve the digital skills of Africa’s youth and teachers while empowering them to use creativity and innovation to solve some of the content’s most pressing issues. Since our launch in 2015, SAP, UNESCO, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), and Irish Aid, we are proud to have empowered over 14 million students and teachers from 48 countries with digital skills on our quest to make sure no one is left behind in the evolution of technology and its benefits,” highlights Claire Gillissen-Duval, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility EMEA MEE at SAP and co-founder of ACW.
“Innovation and creativity is really what shines through in our AfriCAN Code Challenge,” says Gillissen-Duval. “We get to see young people between the ages of 8 and 16 from all over the continent come up with solutions that could solve local community issues.”
For example, she adds that in 2022, they are tasked with developing a multiplayer game that proposes a sustainable solution for protecting life. “The submitted projects were phenomenal and a true reflection of the talent and creative thinking behind African youth. We are proud to see this creativity and innovation over the years and can’t wait to see what will come to fruition in the future.”
The power of partnerships bears fruit
Did you know that there are approximately 300 million young people in Africa, and ACW’s goal is to empower every one of them with digital skills?
“In order to reach more young people, ACW has been working with various African governments to make digital skills accessible to young people from underserved and underrepresented communities. And for the next two years, we will be taking this partnership into the next step and handing over the ACW curriculum to African governments to include it in their school curricula,” says Sunil Geness, Director of Government Affairs at SAP Africa.
“Not only will this equate to economic growth and better employment opportunities, but it will enable an inclusive and diverse tech industry in the continent, which on its own could boost creativity through the diversity of thought and ideas,” Geness concludes.