Google is rolling out new training platforms in a bid to train 1 million young Africans in digital skills within the next year.
In partnership with Livity Africa, Google has set a goal of training 300,000 South Africans, and will provide a further 400,000 Nigerians and 200,000 Kenyans with free digital training, according to Bloomberg. Another 100,000 people will be chosen from other sub-Saharan Africa countries.
To back up its commitment, Google (GOOG) has launched Digify Africa, an online portal that offers a free set of digital skills courses for anyone in Africa. The tech giant is also supporting Livity in running two training programs that will equip those interested with digital skills.
“Google is in Africa for the long haul and we are making an investment in talent,” Google South Africa country head Luke Mckend said, according to Bloomberg. “We hope that the people trained will become pioneers in the field and do great things in digital for companies and for Google.”
Google’s investment in African talent comes at a time when the continent is seeing promising improvements in tech-related areas. African Internet bandwidth, for example, grew 41% between 2014 and 2015, and 51% compounded annually over the last five years, according to a study by TeleGeography. Africa is also the world’s youngest continent: 34% of Africans are between the ages of 25 and 29, and 15 of the world’s youngest countries are in Africa.
However, unemployment among African youths remain high—one estimate pegs it at 20%, and one-third of the labor force in South Africa is out of the job—and around 50% is illiterate. So Google’s investment in the continent is to equip African with the necessary tools, something the country director for Google South Africa, Luke McKend, reportedly said was the “kind of problem Google was designed to solve.”