Google plans in Africa ((AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Cape Town - AMERICAN multinational technology company, Google has said it would be expanding its African digital skills programme by adding offline versions of its online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas and providing the offline content in languages like Swahili, IsiZulu and Hausa.  This after the company said its 2016 target to train one million African in digital skills had been reached earlier that it had initially planned.

The country director at Google South Africa, Luke Mckend, said the company was committed to help local businesses thrive online as they are meaningful partners in the country’s and continent's economy growing.

“Through our different initiatives, a number of small businesses have been helped. Our tools and technologies are simply enablers for anyone who wants to build a global business to connect with new customers or share their creations. Whether it’s a dressmaker who plans on expanding worldwide through the tools technology provides them, or a content creator finding hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube," Mckend said.  Google said the its free digital skills programme offered 89 courses through the online digital skills portal, and the company worked with 14 training partners covering more than 20 countries to offer face-to-face training.

According to the Human Capital Index released last week by the World Economic Forum, it found that 41 percent of all work activities in South Africa are susceptible to automation and 39 percent of core skills required across occupations would be wholly different by 2020.  The study also found that the average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa increased by 23 percent over the last decade.  Google said it had reached its target to reach I million digitally unskilled people in Match. The majority of the trainees came from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. However South Africa lagged far behind compared to the other two countries in the number of people trained.  Nigeria had 450 thousand people trained, while Kenya had 450 thousand people taking part in the programme.  South had just 70 000 people trained.

The growth and brand lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, Bunmi Banjo, said as the company moves to expand this initiative to hard to reach areas across the continent, it hoped to see more impact in everyday lives of Africans.

“Having 1 million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they’ll build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent. As we expand this initiative to hard to reach areas across the continent, we hope to see more impact in everyday lives of Africans.”