AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Johannesburg – As part of celebrating Africa Day, Google is kickstarting one of the first workshops designed to empower Africans with Digital skills.

The first session is currently being conducted in Soweto where local entrepreneurs and job seekers are assisted with using Google tools for business and career development.

The value of this initiative lies in the fact that the future economic value will be derived from digital skills. According to a McKinsey report, from 2013-2020 the internet will contribute as much as $300 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and a similar amount in productivity gains. The challenge, however, is that without relevant skills African economies will not reap the future economic rewards.

Last year Google pledged to train 1 million young people in Africa in digital skills as part of it’s contribution to growing Africa’s digital economy.

The Google workshop conducted in Soweto on Wednesday is part of a commitment by the technology giant to develop technology skills in Africa.

The workshop is being attended by local entrepreneurs and job seekers who are guided by Google global employees in various Google tools that can enable a business to thrive online.

Read also: Google to expand digital skills for Africans

Today's initiative, the first of a series of live workshops in Africa, is part of the Accelerate with Google program. It equips Googlers with funding and training materials to share their knowledge directly with communities that are underrepresented online. Accelerate with Google has produced such events around the U.S., and is rapidly expanding internationally. It’s fueled by the personal passion of Googlers who have grown up in cities or regions of the world with large populations not highly represented in the tech industry. The technology giant has partnered with various local partners to provide necessary skills online and face to face with local communities.

Wednesday's event is the first workshop in Soweto and Google’s success in developing local skills remains to be seen.

Follow #GoogleSkills and #AcceleratewithGoogle for more insights.

Wesley Diphoko is the acting Online Editor for Business Report and head of Independent Media’s Digital Lab. 

Follow him on Twitter: @wesleydiphoko


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