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Endashaw Tesfaye, Digital Finance Expert-UNCDF and H.E. Mrs. Huria Ali State Minister for ICT and Digital Economy at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, signing the agreement.
Addis Ababa, 22 February 2022 - The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and IBM today announced a partnership with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT) to address the digital skills gap among youth and women in Ethiopia. MInT, through its Digital Ethiopia Learning (DEL) initiative, is supporting this partnership and the roll-out of IBM’s online platform in the country.
IBM online learning and innovation platform, Digital – Nation Africa (D-NA), as part of the IBM Global CSR skilling Initiatives, aims to empower users with the knowledge and tools to design, develop and launch their digital solutions. The self-paced platform provides structured learning and achievement recognition where users acquire know-how about emerging technologies such as the Hybrid Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Internet of Things, etc. There are also thousands of free resources including guides, online assessments and digital badges. Users are thus exposed to a wide array of digital services and tools that can improve their lives and allow them to tap into a broader range of opportunities.
The government of Ethiopia has launched its Digital Ethiopia 2025 Strategy with MInT as the lead implementing agency. In line with the strategy, MInT developed the DEL platform to help upskill the digital capabilities of Ethiopia’s workforce and create more jobs through technology. Therefore, it is optimistic this partnership will help to transform the future of work in the country.
Leveraging UNCDF's trusted on the ground presence and channels into last-mile communities, this partnership will further support digital skills growth and the development of Ethiopia’s digital economy. It will also contribute to the country's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, addressing critical areas such as skills, jobs and innovation.
The UNCDF's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Manager, Mr. Mike Mccaffrey, said that "this partnership was launched within the framework of UNCDF's new Digital Futures for Africa initiative, which aims to unite various partners in the skills ecosystem, to transform the future of work. It therefore underlines our commitment to leverage digital technologies and strategic partnerships that will be vital to the future resilience and prosperity of nations, communities and individuals."
Mr. Mccaffrey further said that "although COVID-19 has opened up the world a lot more to digital transformation, it also has the potential to deepen further the digital divide, especially for marginalized groups like women, youth and persons with disabilities. It is the reason this partnership is strategic and can be a game-changer to inclusive economic growth and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs."
General Manager for IBM East Africa, Ms. Caroline Mukiira, speaking on the partnership said, “I have a firm belief that technology can solve some of society’s greatest challenges. At IBM, closing the skills gap is our biggest opportunity of the decade, where we are working with partners globally, and help learners access digital skills and credentials on latest emerging technologies and help align their skills to the most in-demand jobs in the market.”
UNCDF and IBM are piloting this in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. And Ethiopia is the first country to formally launch this strategic partnership. Speaking on it, H.E Mrs. Huria Ali, state minister for ICT and Digital economy at the ministry of innovation and technology said “We recognize building digital literacy is crucial in the journey of building a digital economy, and it is one of the priorities of our digital economy agenda. Our mission is to build a digitally enabled society, that can contribute for Ethiopia’s Future. We understand digital literacy is not only the digital skill, but also includes perception, attitude, knowledge about digital. It also includes macro level and organizational culture that embraces digital as the way forward. In doing so the ministry is engaged in multiple digital literacy initiatives.”
H.E Mrs. Huria Ali also added “We also recognize that building a digitally enabled society is not effectively done in isolation. Multistakeholder engagement and partnerships such as this one, has a key role in realizing our digital literacy objectives. Our collaboration with UNCDF and IBM as an implementing partner is in direct alignment with the objectives of Digital Ethiopia Learning platform initiative. I believe making available IBM Digital-Nation Africa digital platform through DEL (Digital learning Ethiopia) will help citizens to receive a standard digital literacy training course.”
The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world's 46 least developed countries (LDCs). UNCDF offers "last mile" finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. UNCDF's financing models work through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies, which connect individuals, households, and small businesses with financial ecosystems that catalyse participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; (2) local development finance, which capacitates localities through fiscal decentralisation, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and (3) investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilisation.
Founded in 2018 according to the Proclamation No. 1097/2018, is a federal institution with powers and duties to prepare national innovation and technology research and development programs, institutional capacity, and human resource development in Ethiopia. MInT is responsible for the implementation of the national digital transformation strategy, Digital Ethiopia 2025. Please visit www.mint.gov.et for more information.