On 16 April 2016, the company committed to training 1 million Africans on digital skills within a year. On 15 March, it confirmed it has reached its target early, and has set itself to train even more in the coming year.
In addition to the new target, Google is extending its commitment to the Digital Skills programme by assisting local communities further in several ways. First, Google will provide offline versions of its online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas where it is unable to hold physical training sessions. Additionally, Google will provide offline versions of the content in languages like Swahili, IsiZulu and Hausa.
The Digital Skills programme offers 89 courses through the online g.co/digitalskills portal, and Google works with 14 training partners covering more than 20 countries to offer face-to-face training. The programme will also be addressing needs for small business owners, who are looking to better understand how to take advantage of the web across Africa. Google will add web-focused skills training for SMEs across Africa as part of this initiative.
“We’ve been committed for years to help local businesses thrive online, as they are meaningful and crucial partners in our economy,” says Google South Africa country director Luke Mckend. “Through our different initiatives, a number of small businesses have been helped. Our tools and technologies are simply enablers for anyone who wants to build a global business to connect with new customers or share their creations. Whether it’s a dressmaker who plans on expanding worldwide through the tools technology provides them, or a content creator finding hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube, we hope this helps them grow.”
“Having 1 million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they’ll build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent,” says Bunmi Banjo, Growth Engine & Brand Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa. “As we expand this initiative to hard to reach areas across the continent, we hope to see more impact in everyday lives of Africans.”