African Development Bank Launches Coding for Employment Program

African Development Bank Launches Coding for Employment Program

Over the last 15 years, the African Development Bank has invested US $1.64 billion in programs to prepare youth for careers in science, technology and innovation

KIGALI, Rwanda, 
June 6, 2018


— The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), together with partners – The Rockefeller Foundation (www.RockeFellerFoundation.org), Microsoft (www.Microsoft.com) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com) – launched the Coding for Employment Program at the African Innovation Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. By training youth in demand-driven Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum and matching graduates directly with ICT employers, this new Program prepares Africa’s youth for tomorrow’s jobs and unleashes the next generation of young digital innovators from the continent. Coding for Employment will create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa.

The Coding for Employment Program is at the center of the African Development Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative (https://goo.gl/21mhqU), which aims to put Africa’s youth on a path to prosperity. By 2025, the Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative will equip 50 million youth with employable skills and create 25 million jobs in agriculture, information communications and technology and other key industries across Africa.

Over the last 15 years, the African Development Bank has invested US $1.64 billion in programs to prepare youth for careers in science, technology and innovation. Putting youth at the center of Africa’s inclusive economic growth agenda is at the forefront of the African Development Bank’s investments and its “High 5s (www.AfDB.org/en/the-high-5)” priorities —building businesses, feeding the continent, expanding power and integration, and improving the quality of life for the people across the continent by preparing youth for today’s competitive digital world.

As the world moves towards a fourth industrial revolution, the demand for digitization across health, education, and other sectors is on the rise. Digital innovations have the power to solve the continent’s development challenges and are generating new job opportunities. The youth population is rapidly growing and by 2050, is expected to double to over 830 million. Yet, the digital divide in Africa persists and critical skills gap pose serious challenges to youth securing quality and decent work in a rapidly changing workforce.

“Coding for Employment accelerates investments in Africa’s most valuable resource – its young women and men. That’s why The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to join forces with the African Development Bank to help every young African reach their full potential. Our partnership with the African Development Bank will establish 130 Centers of Excellence across Africa to help bridge the gap between the digital hiring news of employers and the skills of Africa’s youth,” affirmed Mamadou Biteye, OBE, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Managing Director for Africa.

According to Ghada Khalifa, Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, “Digital skills are fast becoming essential for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, these skills are beyond the reach of too many young people in Africa. Together with our partners like the African Development Bank, we are working to change that. The partnership between Microsoft and the African Development Bank will continue to focus on increasing the participation of underserved youth and women while equipping youth across Africa with the skills needed to fill jobs now and in the future,” she said.

“We are excited to partner with the African Development Bank on the launch of the coding for employment program in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal. Coding for Employment ensures digital skills are accessible to young people and supports youth with securing meaningful opportunities where they can apply their talents, ideas and expertise to advance the continent’s economic and social development,” said Sherry Dzinoreva, Head of Policy Programs at Facebook.

“By working together with the private sector, donors, policy-makers, and other stakeholders, we can secure a brighter future for young African women and men. As part of this new Program, we seek to cultivate the next generation of innovators and to empower young women to lead the continent’s digital revolution. Investments in youth through programs like Coding for Employment can stimulate inclusive economic growth, put Africa and its youth on the cutting edge of technological innovations and ensure the digital transformation of Africa is led and managed by young Africans for the benefit of the people of Africa,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank.


Distributed by APO Group 
Automation to drive creativity and collaboration in the office of the future

Automation to drive creativity and collaboration in the office of the future

Fundisiwe Maseko
June 05, 2018


Over the past decade, the office environment has evolved with rapid advancements in automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice activation which are all set to play a bigger role in future ways of working.  “How we interface with devices in the office has evolved dramatically. With voice-activated technology rapidly making strides, we will likely evolve from manual to voice interaction with office devices in the near future. We are already seeing evidence of this with the likes of Amazon launching Alexa for Business. Connected devices are also becoming more ubiquitous in office processes such as monitoring office supplies and self-reporting technical errors,” says Lee-Anne Letcher, product manager at Canon SA.

As IoT devices become more commonplace, they may begin to be used more widely for staff wellbeing. For instance, in forward-thinking organizations, connected workplace solutions are being adopted to optimise the environment for employees, with connected heating systems responding to changing weather conditions and smart desks which warn users if they have been sitting too long.  Citing from research by the World Economic Forum, Letcher says creativity will be one of the most in-demand workplace skills by 2020 and many roles that were formerly purely technical, are expected to begin demanding it.

“Automation is one of the major drivers behind this change. In the next few years we can expect to see automation and augmented robotics being used more consistently in the workplace, largely to remove the mundane, repetitive jobs that sap time and inspiration. This will leave the workforce free to focus on uniquely ‘human’ tasks such as creativity and logical reasoning, rapidly creating a demand for these skills.”  For the last decade businesses have been focusing on supporting mobile and remote working, aiming to free employees from their desks and enable them to work however and wherever they want. However, as the debate continues over the productivity of remote workers, this vision for the future of work is undergoing rapid changes and creativity is becoming the new priority.

Remote working means employees are working independently and missing out on the collaborative work environment thought to encourage creativity. InfoTrends’ 2018 report notes that some businesses, like IBM, have actually begun to scale back their remote working programmes, in order to focus on creativity and drive workers towards an environment that supports this.  The ways in which people communicate within the workplace are also changing dramatically. With Cisco Systems Spark, Facebook’s Workplace, Flock, Slack, and Microsoft Teams all rising in popularity over the last couple of years, communication and collaboration at work is becoming more real-time.

Communication is entering a new stage, referred to as ‘conversational interface’ where employees will do most of their work from inside a chat app, rather than switching between different apps for different functions. This better supports an increasingly real-time ‘always on’ culture, where email is no longer suitable; collaboration is far more effective when response time is more immediate.

“With plenty of buzz about connectivity, creativity and collaboration, it’s easy for business leaders to get caught up with intangible concepts. There’s a perception that challenges around these factors are unresolvable issues. But that’s not true. Businesses should start by quantifying their goals, and by seeking expert advice on what processes will create value. Only by doing this can they build a smart office for the future, which delivers a robust return on investment and improves the working lives of employees and decision-makers alike,” concludes Letcher.


IT News Africa

Do you know what it takes to build a 21st Century Brand?

Do you know what it takes to build a 21st Century Brand?

by Carmen Murray
June 05, 2018


With the rise of the connected individual, marketers must re-think the way they build a brand to be future fit for the digital savvy consumers.  There are many challenges and opportunities as we chase the ideal way for brands to connect with consumers. I had a candid conversation with seasoned and award-winning marketing professional, Benjamin Schoderer who leads Digital for Yum! Brands in Africa on the KFC brand and was recently named “Marketer of the Year 2018” at the IAB Bookmarks in March.

Anna Vaulina, Head of the IAB SA Marketing Council adds, ”As the IAB SA we are extremely excited to have Benjamin and YUM! recognised for brilliant work in the digital space. As the South African digital advertising industry matures, it is exciting to see individuals like Benjamin championing the way brands use digital to meet their objectives in a way that engages and has a positive impact on their customers.”  I spoke with Benjamin about some of the challenges and opportunities for today’s brands.

How would you define a 21st century brand?

For me, it’s a brand that understands the 21st century consumer and how to engage a connected individual. If you understand the connected consumer you will be a connected brand. You need to understand that behavioural patterns have changed and how this will impact your brand. For example, eating out and movies have evolved into Netflix and Ubereats. In my view, a 21st century brand is ready for this consumer and their demands, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the marketing landscape over the past 5 years?

First and foremost, the fact that digital has become a central part of marketing and business planning when it was just an afterthought only a couple of years ago. When I first started at Vodacom in 2007, I joined a digital team of three which was part of the IT team looking after call centre systems. Today they are one of the most successful digital teams in the country and digital is at the heart of what they do, a really amazing journey. We are on a similar journey here at Yum! Brand and thus incredibly excited to have been named Digital Brand of the Year for the second year in a row at the 2018 IAB Bookmarks.

Another big change I’ve noticed, is the change of the Digital Media Landscape. It has become so sophisticated and advanced and you can measure your objectives and what you want to achieve through audience insights, programmatic media buying and so on.

Digital has certainly grown up.

When I attended the IAB Summit in California earlier this year, I was amazed by the sheer amount of ad tech companies that exist as part of the digital ecosystem. In line with this, there seems to be a trend of the titles “Chief Digital Officer” and “Chief Marketing Officer” collapsing into a “Chief (Brand) Experience Officer” (or similar) type role. Business adapts to reflect the changes in the digital economy we find ourselves in.

We now live in the age of The Connected Individual. It’s becoming more crucial not just to serve a physical product, but provide an individual brand experience. Tell us more about how you merge the Physical Product and the Digital Experiences for your customers?

First of all, the key experience for us at KFC is our food. We know that if our food is prepared correctly and eaten hot and fresh it really is finger licking good.  We then think about how we enhance this experience through technology or the environment we create around it, along the customer lifecycle. We do a lot of work around the in-store experience and how do we enable a better service experience for instance. Another example of an exciting experience in our restaurants was the SoundBite Case Study and how we used music as a passion point to attract younger consumers.

Another important aspect is customer service, and enabling our staff with technology to improve the service they offer to our customers.  One of our partner markets created an Employee VR Education Program called the Escape Room. This was particularly created to educate service staff on hygiene, preparation of food, and applying the service levels in virtual world and exposing them the KFC way of doing things. See trailer here: KFC Virtual Training Escape Room.

What are the biggest challenges that marketers face, and what advice could you offer them to improve their marketing approach?

The whole marketing universe has just become very confusing and overwhelming for a lot of marketers. There are so many new technologies being introduced to the market, new ways of targeting consumers and a lot of marketers tell me that they feel intimidated by this constant change. The risk with that is that marketers tend to stick to what they know instead of exploring new opportunities for their brand or taking any risks.

We combat that at KFC by running several training programmes, often with our digital partners, so that our entire marketing team is comfortable navigating the digital advertising space.  Our customers are embracing this change, and as marketers, we need to be willing to explore and embrace these changes or we will be left behind. My key advice to marketers would be and stay curious. You really have nothing to lose, but so much to win. Just find the right fit for your brand to get you the results that you need.  Make budget available for experimentation. Be Brave, test it. If it doesn’t work, move on and try again.

In marketing, collaboration is key. What advice can you give marketers on choosing their partners to ensure the most abundant explosion of creativity and problem solving?

Surround yourself with experts that are right for your brand and with the skill sets that you need. I am not an expert at all digital disciplines (and there are a lot), but I am trying to surround myself with experts in these areas to help me do achieve my vision.  What I have learned is that you acquire your partners based on skills and experience and you retain them based on people and culture.

If there is chemistry, you can make magic happen. We have built this amazing culture with our partners like Ogilvy and Mindshare, and we just click. It’s also important to be able to have healthy debates and criticise ideas. Trust your partners and ensure you are always aligned.

There is a saying: Garbage in, Garbage out. How can we move away from generic briefs and inform our partners better for effective projects?

Know what you want, what you going to measure and know what success looks like. Make sure you have strong insight into why people behave the way they do. Ask the question why over and over to match your product to the truth. It’s a marketing fundamental.

Key takeaways:

  1. Adapt to Change
  2. Your brand is no longer just a product. You need to augment your product with experiences
  3. All your staff, whether Head Office staff or service staff, should be exposed to technology and empowered to offer better service to customers
  4. Don’t stick to what you know
  5. Go for constant training to get Future Fit and be comfortable with the new
  6. Make budget available for experimentation
  7. Be curious and take risks
  8. Choose the right partners

IT News Africa

International Bureau of Education to Organize a Learning Series Event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?”

International Bureau of Education to Organize a Learning Series Event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?”

The event is scheduled on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, from 10:45 – 11:40, at the Centre des arts | Fondation de l’Ecole Internationale de Genève | 62, route de Chêne – CH-1208 Geneva
GENEVA, Switzerland
May 24, 2018


The International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) will organize a Learning Series event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?” on Tuesday, 5 June in Geneva.  Betelhem Dessie Asnake is Ethiopia’s leading youth technology entrepreneur, who is changing the world of AI and robotics.

Only 18 years old, she is the project manager of iCog-Anyone Can Code, an initiative she started, in partnership with iCog Labs — Ethiopia’s first AI and robotics lab, co-founded by American AI pioneer Ben Goertzel, and leading Ethiopian techno-futurist Getnet Aseffa. The Anyone Can Code project is a result of her vision, which aims at using advanced technology to uplift children and students in the developing world.

The event is scheduled on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, from 10:45 – 11:40, at the Centre des arts | Fondation de l’Ecole Internationale de Genève | 62, route de Chêne – CH-1208 Geneva.  The event is open to the public but advanced registration is required: bit.ly/2LnpMvb


Distributed by APO Group
World’s First 100 Gbps Wireless Transmission

World’s First 100 Gbps Wireless Transmission

Edited by Neo Sesinye
May 23, 2018


Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) has successfully demonstrated the world’s first 100Gbps wireless transmission, using a new technology that already surpasses the upcoming 5G standard.  This is the first time OAM multiplexing has been used for wirelessly transmitting such a high data rate. The eventual aim of this project is to achieve terabit-class wireless transmission to support the demand for wireless communications in the 2030s.

The technical feat was part of NTT’s laboratory experiments. NTT conducted transmission experiments at a distance of 10 meters using a system operating in the 28GHz frequency band.  In total, NTT simultaneously generated 11 data signals, each at a bitrate of 7.2 to 10.8Gbps, achieving large-capacity wireless transmission at 100Gbps — a world first.  This level of wireless capacity reaches a level around 100 times that of LTE and WiFi, and about five times that of 5G, launching in 2020.

In the short-to-medium term, this technology could be used to help boost 5G performances for new domestic uses requiring higher transmission capacities (autonomous and connected vehicles, VR, high-definition  video transmission, etc.).  NTT will present the results at Wireless Technology Park 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, May 23-25. Although the concept is still relatively new, the successful experiment paves the way for a host of exceptional possibilities.


IT News Africa