DURBAN – Africa Code Week 2018 received a significant boost with the announcement of key partner Google's support of 53 non-profit organisations across 11 countries. 

This is the third consecutive year that Google is making micro-grants available to organisations involved in implementing Africa Code Week's vision to instil 21st century skills among Africa's youth. In 2016 and 2017, the 90 Google enabled organisations across 10 countries to expose more than 100 000 youth to computer science and coding.

According to Sunil Geness, Project Lead for Africa Code Week, the two tech giants SAP and Google have taken their partnership beyond global technological collaboration and joined forces to further intensify the reach of the Africa Code Week programme.

Geness said, "Equipping Africa's large youthful workforce with digital skills is vital to ensuring the continent's future success and its ability to achieve the ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Google's immense support will this year alone empower 2 200 teachers who will inspire an estimated 80 000 students through computer science and coding workshops during Africa Code Week 2018.

Africa Code Week which was launched in 2015 had a goal of impacting the lives of 2 million youth by 2020. To date, over 1.8 million youth across 35 African countries have been introduced to 21st-century digital skills. Africa Code Week also aims to empower 70 000 teachers across the continent with key skills and teaching materials to help bridge the digital and gender skills gap in Africa.

Mzamo Masito the Chief Marketing Officer of Google for sub-Saharan Africa said, "Africa Code Week's focus on instilling skills and building local digital skills and teaching capacity is superbly aligned to own commitment in preparing 10 million people in Africa for tomorrow's workplace".

For the 2018 Africa Code Week, the 2017 Google micro-grant recipients will host a series of community workshops with the goal of empowering youth and teachers to create sustainable local skills development capacity. Organisations that will receive support from Google this year are from African countries like Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

The Siyafunda Community Technology Centre in South Africa, which aims to equip 1000 teachers with digital skills was one of many organisations that received support from Google in the form of a micro-grant. 

"All of this year's grant recipients focus on establishing communities of practice to support youth as they prepare for a future where digital and STEM skills are paramount," said Geness. 

Genness added that with Google's support, Africa Code Week is playing an invaluable role in developing sustainable local digital skills capacity that will empower a new generation of African worker with the knowledge and inspiration they need to succeed. 

Africa Code Week will take place throughout the course of October and will provide learners from 8-17 years of age the opportunity to program their own animations. Older learners aged 18-24 will be provided with a basic understanding of website architecture, teaching them how to develop a fully operational and mobile-friendly website.  

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