Smart Africa’s capacity building arm, the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) continues to expand its footprint in Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire being the latest country to benefit from the digital skills development initiative. Launched in partnership with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the initiative will help nurture the country’s nascent digital sector through provision of digital skills.
Speaking of the launch, Lacina Koné, the Director General and CEO of Smart Africa, commended the political will of governments across Africa to transform the digital landscape on the continent and emphasized Smart Africa’s support.
“There’s increasing recognition, among nations, of the role of digital technologies in transforming the socio-economic situation and the determination to adopt them is palpable. Through initiatives like SADA, the Smart Africa Alliance is committed to supporting national efforts to close the digital skills gap. We are pleased to bring SADA to life in Côte d’Ivoire, an important country of the alliance,” he explained.
Representing the German government, a key donor of the SADA initiative, Marton Köver, Chargé d’Affaires of the German Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, underlined that “a fair and equitable legal framework is key to ensuring that as many Africans as possible benefit from digital transformation” – a step Côte d’Ivoire has now taken with SADA. In addition to SADA, the Agile Regulation for Digital Transformation Program (AReg4DT) was also launched in collaboration with the World Bank and GIZ.
The World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Guinea, and Togo Mrs. Coralie Gevers also stated “capacity building and knowledge exchange among African countries is critical to support the implementation of the Africa Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030 and Côte d’Ivoire has an important role to play sharing knowledge among peers and showing the benefits of applying agile regulation principles for vibrant, inclusive, sustainable and safe digital markets as demonstrated by the recent adoption of its National Digital Development Strategy 2025.”
The launch of SADA in Côte d’Ivoire heralds implementation of various capacity building programs on Big Data & IoT, training of teachers, executive trainings, advanced ICT trainings, among other. Moreover, Côte d’Ivoire is set to host the first cybersecurity Innovation Centers for youth. Currently, Côte d’Ivoire leads Smart Africa’s cybersecurity flagship.
In this respect, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between between the Smart Africa Alliance and Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Communication, part of which is provision, by SADA, of specific capacity building interventions related to the country’s priorities in the ICT sector
Speaking on the launch of SADA, the Ivorian Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Amadou Coulibaly, emphasized that “SADA-Côte d’Ivoire will be one of the key vehicles for the operationalization of the “awareness and training” projects of the 4th pillar of the National Digital Strategy to 2025, which has the specific objective to develop and promote digital skills”.
As a pan-African dynamic learning ecosystem, SADA aims to improve digital skills qualifications, employability, and meet the emerging talent needs of African citizens. The national digital academy will support the uniquely identified digital skills priority needs at the national level. Furthermore, such national digital academies will soon be rolled out in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
SADA is also embarking on a program to provide digital skills for African youth and entrepreneurs for them to thrive in the global technology ecosystem. This will help increase the digital technology competence, reduce unemployment, and increase the digital entrepreneurship capabilities for youth in Africa. This program intends to impact 500 youth by the end of the year.
Since its start of operation in August 2020, focusing on the Capacity Building for Decision Makers (CBDM) module, SADA has trained over 2,000 policy and decision-makers across 26 countries in trending digital transformation topics including Artificial Intelligence Use Cases, 5G Connectivity, Data Protection & Privacy, Rural Broadband Policies, Security Technologies, Regulatory and Innovative Sandboxing Environments, Data Centers and Cloud, Digital Identity for Underserved, ePayment, etc. The objective is to reach over 22,000 trained beneficiaries by 2023, supported by the SADA In-country implementation wave.