Smart Africa’s capacity building arm, the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) have launched a national digital academy in Benin. This is in partnership with Benin’s Ministry of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation, demonstrating yet again the initiative’s unrelenting effort to boost digital skills on the African continent.
The launch concurred with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Smart Africa Alliance Benin’s Ministry of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation, part of which is provision, by SADA, of specific capacity building interventions related to the country’s priorities in the ICT sector.
The launch of SADA national digital academy in Benin follows launches in other countries namely: Rwanda, Ghana and The Republic of Congo. The creation and rollout of this initiative across the continent comes against the backdrop of an immense gap in digital skills in the midst of an ever-evolving digital world.
“SADA is a direct response to digital skills shortage with which Benin and Africa in general are confronted. As one of the most active countries of the Smart Africa alliance, we are extremely pleased to implement SADA in Benin and advance the nation digital skills, in close collaboration with our partners” commented Mr. Lacina Koné, the Director General and CEO of Smart Africa.
SADA initiative in Benin will be an essential backing to the country’s digital sector strategy, which is to transform Benin into West Africa’s digital services platform through means including human resources with the necessary capacities to drive Benin’s sustainable development. SADA Benin will encompass a range of initiatives such as advanced trainings in ICT through a training of trainer approach, executive training and teachers’ skills. As part of the SADA Benin framework, and in the same week of the SADA launch, 40 Master trainers will be trained in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity and will train other local trainers as part of the extension of this initiative.
Hon. Aurélie Adam Soulé, Minister of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation said: “SADA is an instrument, a platform that will allow us to take new initiatives and strengthen the initiatives that have already been taken by the Republic of Benin within the framework of its action program and to open perspectives on other areas of cooperation and capacity building. This MoU signature is for me, a very important step to scale up.”
As a pan-African dynamic learning ecosystem, SADA aims to improve digital skills qualifications, employability, and meet the emerging talent needs of African citizens. The national digital academy in Benin will support the uniquely identified digital skills priority needs at the national level. Furthermore, such national digital academies will soon be rolled out in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.
SADA is also embarking on two new programs to provide digital skills for African youth, entrepreneurs and citizens in general, for them to thrive in the global technology ecosystem. The SADA for youth and entrepreneurs will help increase the digital technology competence, reduce unemployment, and increase the digital entrepreneurship capabilities for youth in Africa; while the SADA Digital Literacy will help all African citizens to be digitally literate.
Since its start of operation in August 2020, focusing on the Capacity Building for Decision Makers (CBDM) and the National Digital Academy modules, SADA has trained about 3,000 policy and decision-makers across 26 countries in trending digital transformation and emerging technology related topics including Artificial Intelligence Use Cases, Digital Economy, 5G Connectivity, Data Protection & Privacy, Rural Broadband Policies, Security Technologies, Regulatory and Innovative Sandboxing Environments, Data Centers and Cloud, Digital Identity for Underserved, ePayment, etc. The objective is to reach over 22,000 trained beneficiaries by 2023, supported by the SADA In-country implementation wave.
About the Ministry of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation – Benin
The mission of the Ministry of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation is to design, monitor and evaluate the State’s general policy on electronic communications, digital development and the digital transformation of public administration, businesses and other sectors of society. To do this, it works on the following major levers:
- Promote the digital transformation of businesses;
- Ensure the reduction of the digital divide;
- Developing digital technology, particularly by promoting digital skills and digital entrepreneurship.
About Smart Africa
Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and the use of ICTs. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by seven (7) African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 32 member countries, representing over 815 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.