Microsoft has partnered with Tech4Dev to launch the Women Techsters Innovation in 54 countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The programme will train women and girls on coding and equip them with deep tech skills in efforts to bridge the digital and technology divide. As a result, they will benefit from equal access to opportunities in the continent.
The programme was first piloted in Nigeria and is now being rolled out to other countries.
“When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry, through greater access to skills and training, we not only unlock innovation but also economic opportunities,” said the Regional Director of Microsoft Philanthropies MEA, Ghada Khalifa.
Training programmes include equipping women and girls with technical skills such as software development, data science and AI engineering, product design, product management and cybersecurity.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recently issued a report, cautioning that Africa’s inequality gap could continue to widen unless concrete action is taken to bridge the digital divide.
Microsoft South Africa Managing Director Lillian Barnard echoed the sentiments saying that more effort was required to increase the participation of women and girls participation in tech.
“The overall objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech-empowered girls and women across the continent, who will have equal access to decent job opportunities as well as to build and scale their ideas into tech-enabled businesses and deep tech start-ups, ultimately aiding overall economic growth.”
Tech4Dev Executive Director, Diwura Oladepo said the initiative would contribute to gender equality and decent work and economic growth for women and girls which are among Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Our shared belief is that training and empowering young women across Africa will help achieve a male-female ratio balance in the technology space, while providing them with useful skills to build more efficient businesses, or rewarding careers using technology.”