Smart Africa’s capacity building arm, the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) and the government of Benin have launched a national digital academy, demonstrating the initiative’s effort to boost digital skills on the African continent.
This concurred with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Smart Africa Alliance Benin’s ministry of digital affairs and digitalisation, part of which is provision, by SADA, of specific capacity building interventions related to the country’s priorities in the ICT sector.
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The launch of SADA in Benin follows launches in Rwanda, Ghana and the Republic of Congo. The creation and rollout of this initiative across the continent comes against the backdrop of an immense gap in digital skills in the midst of an ever-evolving digital world.
“SADA is a direct response to digital skills shortage with which Benin and Africa in general are confronted. As one of the most active countries of the Smart Africa alliance, we are extremely pleased to implement SADA in Benin and advance the nation digital skills, in close collaboration with our partners” commented Lacina Koné, director-general and CEO of Smart Africa.
SADA’s initiative in Benin will be an essential backing to the country’s digital sector strategy, which is to transform the country into West Africa’s digital services hub. SADA Benin will encompass a range of initiatives such as advanced trainings in ICT through a training of trainer approach, executive training and teachers’ skills. As part of the SADA Benin framework, and in the same week of the SADA launch, 40 master trainers will be trained in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. They will train other local trainers as part of the extension of this initiative.
Aurélie Adam Soulé, minister of digital affairs and digitalisation, said: “SADA is an instrument, a platform that will allow us to take new initiatives and strengthen the initiatives that have already been taken by the Republic of Benin within the framework of its action program and to open perspectives on other areas of cooperation and capacity building. This MoU signature is for me, a very important step to scale up.”
As a pan-African 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, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.
SADA is also embarking on two new programs to provide digital skills for African youth, entrepreneurs and citizens in general, for them to thrive in the global technology ecosystem. The SADA for youth and entrepreneurs will help increase the digital technology competence, reduce unemployment, and increase the digital entrepreneurship capabilities for youth in Africa. SADA Digital Literacy will help all African citizens to be digitally literate.
Since it kicked off in August 2020, SADA has trained about 3 000 policy and decision-makers across 26 countries in trending digital transformation and emerging technology related topics. This includes artificial intelligence use cases, digital economy, 5G connectivity, data protection and privacy, and rural broadband policies, among others.
The objective is to reach over 22 000 trained beneficiaries by 2023.