By Daniels Ekugo
SAP Africa has announced a software coding pilot project at the Ojodu Grammar School in Lagos, western Nigeria, as part of the run-up to Africa Code Week (ACW) in October 2015.
One hundred children aged between 8 and 11 will be taught software coding skills in a fun-filled, hands-on workshop facilitated by SAP.
Tailored to youth skills development in eleven African countries, the ACW programme will target an estimated 20,000 children and adults (ranging in age from 8 to 24 years) participating in software coding workshops in South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
Africa Code Week is being driven by SAP along with partners Simplon from France, the Galway Education Centre from Ireland and the Cape Town Science Centre.
Its purpose is to empower youth, teachers and parents with the language of software programming using a freely available Scratch system.
“SAP is committed to helping Africa’s youth become fluent in software coding, the language of the digital age. With the Africa Code Week initiative, we hope to enable Africa’s youth to further contribute to the continent’s success in this digital age,” said Franck Cohen, SAP President Europe, Middle East & Africa.
He said a new Harbor Research study has found that while 65% of today’s technology applications generate revenue, the number will rise to 80% by 2018. Although smart homes, wearables and sports markets currently lead in application development today, future growth will come from the healthcare and automotive sectors, as well as smart cities.
“Software coding is everywhere and the youth of today have to be empowered with coding skills. Software coding is growing in popularity and computer literacy is becoming a significant driver in establishing future generations in the workplace. However, less than one percent of African children leave school with basic coding skills,” he added.
According to Cohen, “SAP is proud to be part of the Africa Code Week programme which aims to provide African youth with the critical skills required for today’s challenging job market. This exciting programme aligns perfectly with the SAP Africa’s Skills for Africa initiative which promotes both skills development and job creation across the continent.
“It will also contribute to Africa becoming a future net exporter of technology skills to the rest of the world. Preparing the ground for Africa Code Week is critical and these software pilot projects are giving us a clear picture of best-practices to adopt across other African countries as the project gains momentum.”