Bunmi Banjo: Giving one million Africans a digital future

Africa’s youth population is expected to double to a staggering 830 million by 2050, such rapid growth has led to questions about how the continent will keep up in terms of resources and jobs.

A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) into World Employment paints a dire picture of the state of youth unemployment and working poverty on the continent. According to the 2016 report, North

Africa has the second highest rate of youth unemployment in the world, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of working poverty.

So how do you tackle a rapidly growing population burdened with high rates of unemployment? For Google Brand and Reputation Manager Bunmi Banjo it’s teaching millions of Africans digital skills, for free.

How to train a million

After a career in banking, Banjo said she saw a need to create economic opportunities for Africans, which led her to Google.

She joined the team in 2012 and under her leadership, the company has trained a million youths in sub-Saharan African in just eleven months.

“We have trained hundreds over the years but we decided that in Africa we really needed skill,” Banjo told CNN. ”

A lot of them [youth] coming online only know about social and are using the web primarily as a communication tool which is great, but [they are] not realizing that there is a lot more they can do with it especially in Africa where the jobs are not there.”

Soon after the Digital Skills for Africa program launched in April last year Banjo found it necessary to raise the bar higher, and the company decided to train one million people.

“You can connect with people, grow your skills and potentially get jobs from across the world,” she explained. “This is what we want to make sure large numbers of young people are aware of.”

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