Thousands of young female Africans have begun camping in Cameroon’s capital city of Yaounde since Monday to develop coding skills for closing gender gaps and fighting poverty.
The initiative dubbed the “Connected African Girls Coding Camp” offers training in animation, gaming, web development, robotics, internet of things (IoT), and 3D printing, etc., according to officials from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The camp “is about making women and girls future creators of employment. To have more than half of the population, who are women, not active economic actors and yet are as capable as the other half is a luxury we can’t afford,” Antonio Pedro, director of the ECA Sub-regional Office for Central Africa told reporters at the start of the workshop.
More than 8,000 girls are taking part in the 12-day workshop in Yaounde with a decentralised connection to the country’s tech hub of Buea and the economic capital of Douala, and also via a virtual platform, according to ECA officials.
“The gender gap in the ICT sector is at least 12 percent in disfavour of women.
“It’s time for governments, parents and the private sector to bring back our women to the fore of ICTs beginning with coding,” said Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng.
The ECA organized the camp in partnership with the Government of Cameroon, UN Women, International Telecommunication Union, and UNESCO.