Germany will affirm its strong partnership with Africa, as experts gather to discuss “learnability and employability” at the 2019 eLearning Africa in Abidjan. This year sees the greatest-ever combined German engagement at Africa’s leading conference on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development. Now in its fourteenth year, the event convenes in the Ivorian capital from 23 – 25 October.
Africa’s opportunities and challenges are more globally relevant in the 21st century than they have been in a generation. The Global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 have rallied global partners around a common framework to work with Africans to transform the continent. A key challenge for Africa now is how to move from tackling unemployment to nurturing entrepreneurial activity that can add value, employ more young people, and create sustainable livelihoods.
The education, training and skills space is one in which Germany has long had an acknowledged track record of success. German success in creating a space for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to blossom is also respected worldwide. It is now enhancing its expertise and knowledge-sharing partnership with Africa in a range of related thematic areas. eLearning Africa, an annual, pan-African conference dedicated to examining the potential for using new communications technology to spread educational opportunity, has been selected as a useful platform for this engagement.
Many of the above-mentioned themes are embedded in the programme of this year’s conference. A notable session is the one-day design-thinking Africa Cloud workshop organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on 23 October. Africa Cloud is a project designed to make intensive use of the possibilities of digital learning across Africa. Within the context of African–German development cooperation, it will help innovative digital knowledge products and learning opportunities reach people from diverse backgrounds in selected partner countries in Africa. The gathering brings together decision makers, practitioners, and experts in digital learning with project participants from the African countries involved and Germany.
Offline inequalities continue to exist in the digital world: 250 million fewer women than men are online, and women are four times less likely to be ICT specialists. To address the existing gender digital divide and to foster equal participation of women and girls in the digital age, the G20 launched the #eSkills4Girls initiative in 2017 under German leadership. In this context, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the GIZ are organizing the #eSkills4Girls Pre-Conference Workshop on Wednesday, 23 October. The focus is innovative approaches to tackling the digital gender divide and boosting relevant education as well as employment opportunities in emerging and developing countries.
Technical and Vocational Education is crucial for the African economic system, and eLearning Africa dedicates significant time to it. The programme features a dialogue on Dual TVET Made in Germany: Developing Skills for Employability, involving a number of German expert speakers. With German expertise in demand in both the public and private sectors, a panel of highly experienced TVET providers will discuss effective African modalities for cooperation with German training providers.
In light of Germany’s large and influential SME sector, it is no surprise that German expertise will also feature in a session dedicated to Promoting Entrepreneurship in Africa. This will scrutinise how the demand for entrepreneurial training and skills can be met outside traditional channels and explore initiatives to attract both learners and entrepreneurs.
The German Pavilion will be the largest at eLearning Africa this year. It features
Computer Zentrum Strausberg; Festo Didactic SE; Team Connex AG; Baden Württemberg International; Dr.-Ing. Paul Christiani GmbH & Co. KG; IeXsolar GmbH; WBS Training AG; LD Didactic GmbH; The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi); and Medien LB. Further exhibitors include GIZ, GOP Worldwide Consultants, and iMOVE: Training – Made in Germany at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.