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African digital education supported by Germany

ADVOCATE: Merkel's Special Representative for Africa, Guenter Nooke (image credit: John Patrick Lisley Dany © ICWE GmbH)

THE GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel's Special Representative for Africa was in Mauritius last week for eLearning Africa's 2017 conference, where he revealed the scale of German support for digital education.

eLearning Africa is an annual three-day event which connects professionals from the world of tech, education, business, politics and more.

Merkel's Special Representative for Africa, Guenter Nooke, a former member of the Bundestag, told the conference that:

"At the beginning of this year, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development - BMZ - launched its own strategy to systematically integrate ICT in its development cooperation...Our focus continent is Africa - over the period of 2016-2017, BMZ has allocated around 100 million euros for digital projects in all sectors through its Digital Africa initiative. Digital education plays an important role in the BMZ Digital Agenda."

Nooke gave several examples of German support for digital education in Africa. These included ICT programmes to improve teacher training in rural areas in Mozambique and Malawi and using ICT to improve both access to, and the quality of, education for refugees.

WORK IS LIFE: Technology has blurred the lines between education and play (image credit: Thinkstock)

"In Kenya," he continued, "we use digital technology for literacy and life-skills training in the Kakuma refugee camp.

"As the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Agenda 2030 emphasise, we need to get the private sector on board if we want to reach the sustainable development goals.

The private sector is involved in both Germany's Digital Africa strategic partnership and in the Make IT programme, which provides support for start-ups and tech entrepreneurs.

"Through collaboration with start-ups, we want to harness the potential of digital innovations for development cooperation," added Nooke.

"We also collaborate with the software firm SAP in the framework of the Africa Code Week to promote digital literacy and coding for children and youth in Africa.

“Digital skills are an important priority for German Development Cooperation. This year, in the framework of Germany's G20 presidency, we launched the initiative eSkills4Girls. It aims at promoting participation, education and employment for girls and women in a digital world..."

eLearning Africa 2017 took place September 27-29 at Balaclava in the Republic of Mauritius. Next year it will be held in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, from September 26-28.

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