Google in drive to upskill 1m Africans

Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP, File)
Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP, File)

Johannesburg - Internet search giant Google has teamed up with youth content agency Livity Africa to train one million people across the continent in digital skills.

Google and Livity Africa plan to run two training programmes dubbed ‘Digify Bytes’ and ‘Digify Pro’ over a 12 month period for free.

The ‘Bytes’ programme seeks to boost young people’s digital skills while the ‘Pro’ initiative involves three-month immersion training for digital specialists.

The programmes, though, are not teaching computer coding skills but rather soft skills such as social media and content creation. The two organisations are targeting training 100 000 people face-to-face and about 900 000 people online.

Meanwhile, Google and Livity Africa have also launched a data-light website called digifyafrica.com, an online-learning portal which is expected to grow from nine courses to 50 by July.

"All the courses that are put on here are easy to learn at your own pace,” said Google Africa spokesperson Mich Atagana at the search giant’s offices in Johannesburg.

Country director for Google South Africa, Luke McKend, said on Tuesday that upskilling Africans is the “kind of problem Google was designed to solve.”

"We know that small businesses are more profitable when they're online,” McKend told a media briefing.

To date, the Google and Livity training initiatives have kicked off in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The search giant has also promised to scale up the programmes over the next 12 months while 65 volunteers are helping the Livity team with content development, training trainers and even delivering training sessions.

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