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Members Communiqué

New initiative launched to bridge the gender digital divide in Africa 

Equipping girls and young women with digital skills key to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment

Geneva, 05 September 2018

ITU and UN Women, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, have launched a new initiative to equip girls and young women in Africa with digital literacy skills. The African Girls Can CODE Initiative (AGCCI) is a four-year progamme that aims to train and empower girls and young women aged 17 to 20 years old across Africa to become computer programmers, creators and designers – and in so doing, enable more girls and young women to take up studies and careers in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

The initiative plans to: encourage African countries to mainstream ICT studies, including coding, into their national curricula to provide girls and young women with more opportunities to learn digital skills; establish a network of women in ICT who will act as role-models; and create an online community platform through which girls can connect and share their coding experiences.

“ITU is delighted to be part of the African Girls Can CODE Initiative, which builds on our ongoing efforts to bridge the gender digital divide in Africa and around the world. It is essential that girls and young women are equipped with digital skills so that they can access employment opportunities in our increasingly digital world," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“It is important to increase the number of girls and women who are participating in today's technology led world," said UN Women Executive Director Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Empowering girls with digital skills will be key to solving some of the big challenges the world faces in the 21st century, attain sustainable development and make the world a better place to live in."

“By teaching coding and other digital skills, this initiative is not only an opportunity that could help reduce youth unemployment but it is also a means towards achieving gender equality, women's empowerment and accelerating the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals," said Brahima Sanou, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director.

Over the next four years, the initiative plans to hold 14 coding camps across Africa, the last of which is planned to coincide with the 2022 African Union Summit. The main aim of the camps is to inspire young girls to build their computing and ICT skills through hands-on experiences.

​AGCCI has been made possible with the generous support of the Government of Denmark.