May 13, 2013
The Rockefeller Foundation has pledged $97 million in the digital scene in Africa as part of its ongoing initiative to create jobs for young Africans in the rapidly growing information and communications technology (ICT) sector in the continent. This was announced at the World Economic Forum, in Cape Town last week.
According to the foundation, the fund would be aimed at impacting one million lives in six African countries. The investment will impact people who would not otherwise have an opportunity for sustainable employment through jobs and skills for youth in the tech sector. Countries to benefit from the pledge include Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and Morocco.
The Digital Jobs Africa initiative builds on three years of the Foundation’s existing work and will focus on high potential youth who lack access to jobs and economic opportunities. The initiative, led out of the Foundation’s Africa Regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, will continue on for the next 7 years and leverage significant funds and support from other stakeholders the organization said.
-The country selection was based on high levels of youth unemployment, the growth of their ICT-enabled sectors, including the existing level of governmental support and the potential to create significant numbers of jobs within the sector, says the organisation.
-There is no better place to announce the official launch of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative, a $97 million investment, President of the Foundation Judith Rodin said at the Forum.
The funds will be invested in digital fields such as service center support, online research and Web design. The initiative will span the next seven years and would focus on all six African countries, which have dynamic and growing services sectors and offer the potential for continued ICT development.
The Foundation will work in close partnership with other stakeholders – private sector, government, civil society and the development community – to leverage significant funds and align complementary programs in order to achieve the impact goal.
“We will leverage the rising demand from African-based organisations, governments moving to e-government using digital tools, and multinational corporations, to create sustainable employment opportunities, which is a win-win for all, cutting costs in many cases by 40%, while increasing incomes for workers by 40% to 200%,” Rodin said in a statement.
To achieve the goal of impacting one million people, Digital Jobs Africa will bridge the gap between the supply of high potential job seekers who need both technical and soft skills to be work ready and companies seeking talent to service their expanding business needs. Digital jobs such as data entry, service centre support, online research and web design will provide youth with skills that will make them more resilient to a dynamic and uncertain labour market.
Digital Jobs Africa will focus on three specific interventions: