The Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) has officially come to fruition. Its purpose will be to improve the digital skills of African citizens; providing them with the qualifications and employability needed to drive the continent’s digital economy.
The launch of the pan-African learning ecosystem was announced on 24 February by the Smart Africa Alliance in Kintele International Conference Centre, in the presence of ICT Ministers from 18 members state of the Alliance.
To ensure practical implementation, SADA circles around five modules of implementation, namely:
- Digital Skills for All – addressing Africa’s digital literacy;
- STEAM Advocacy – strengthening the digital capacity of educational systems to mainstream Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics;
- ICT Specialised Training – developing and nurturing an ecosystem of digital technologies innovators and entrepreneurs;
- Advanced IT Training – sustaining digital lifelong learning and research;
- Capacity Building for Decision-Makers (CBDM) – empowering policy and decision-makers on technology trends to make informed decisions.
Since its inception in August 2020, SADA has focused primarily on the CBDM module, training over 2000 policy and decision-makers across 26 countries in trending digital transformation topics.
These include artificial intelligence use cases, 5G connectivity, data protection and privacy, rural broadband policies, security technologies, regulatory and innovative sandboxing environments, data centres and cloud, digital identity for the underserved and e-payments.
The objective is to reach over 22000 trained beneficiaries by 2023, supported by the SADA in-country implementation wave.
SADA wants to complement existing platforms, content, and initiatives by bringing together a cross-section of players within the capacity building ecosystem.
So far, SADA has collaborated with the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank, GIZ, IEEE, GSMA, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, HPE, Google, Ericsson and Rohdes & Schwartz.
Having obtained initial funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in collaboration with the World Bank to implement the Agile Regulations for Digital Transformation (AReg4DT) initiative, SADA will focus on implementing National Digital Academies to support the uniquely identified digital skills priority needs at the national level.
The current countries for implementation are Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda and Tunisia.
Addressing the audience during the launch in Congo, Smart Africa CEO Lacina Koné commented: “Skilling a billion citizens may seem an impossible task. As a multi-stakeholder coalition, SADA will achieve this through the powers of ownership, collaboration, and partnership to define a sustainable environment for skills development.
“We call for all our country members state, private sector, development partners and any interested stakeholder to support the SADA initiative to join this ambitious yet achievable programme”.
SADA in Congo will be run with the African Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CARIA) in the capital city Brazzaville focusing on policymakers, youth and professionals.
Additional countries are expected to launch their National Digital Academies in the next coming months.