On Wednesday, February 1, African Development Bank (AfDB) launched the Coding for Employment Center of Excellence at the United States International University, Africa (USIU-Africa). The AfDB Center of Excellence Program is a flagship initiative of a broader Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, wherein the bank will seek to contribute to the creation of 25 million jobs for African youth over the next decade, and to equip 50 million youth with a mix of hard and soft skills to increase their employability as well as their entrepreneurial success rate.
The Center will provide 1,800 Kenyan youth with the skills needed to secure Information and communication technology, Information systems, and ICT services employment through demand-driven training. It will teach technical and entrepreneurial skills that are transferable across industry segments. This program is set to benefit youth aged 15 to 35 who are currently unemployed or underemployed, with special consideration given to vulnerable and disadvantaged youth.
The Center will strategically position Kenyan youth to compete for “present” and “future” jobs. Beyond skill development, the program aims to foster the development of an “innovation ecosystem” in which key stakeholders (private sectors, youth, and government) in the sector can take a long-term, integrated, and holistic approach to promoting the innovative use of digital tools to solve social problems in Africa. This is set to be achieved through delivery of both E-learning and physical training sessions to be availed at the Center of Excellence launched at USIU-Africa School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The launch was attended by several guests from various institutions and bodies, including the Executive Office of the President, Mastercard Foundation, The University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, and Riara University. The Center was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Margee Ensign, while the event proceedings were handled by the Dean School of Graduate Studies, Research, and Extension, Professor Amos Njuguna.
A panel discussion was also held, moderated by Mr. John Wali, Executive Director of Junior Achievement Kenya, and featuring Mrs. Hendrina Doroba, Division Manager, Education and Skills Development-African Development Bank (AFDB), Professor Patrick Wamuyu, Chairperson ICT Department in USIU Africa, Hillary Kipng’etich, an AFDB CFE graduate, and Ken Mwenda, Managing Director of EMobilis.
The event concluded with a colorful ribbon cutting that was done by Mr. Mukhtar Ogle, Secretary to the Executive Office of the President, to officiate the launch.