The socio-economic development of the continent will be local, or it will not be. It will also be digital, or it will not be.
If this double conviction was still the prerogative of a few players 18 months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world that local governments and the digital transition are now a necessary condition for development, cohesion, and social peace.
To permanently anchor African local governments and the continent as a whole in the digital world and reduce the digital divide that has widened over the years, the pan-African organisation of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and 01Talent Africa signed on May 30, 2021 an innovative and ambitious strategic cooperation and partnership agreement, based on both the power of digital education and the extraordinary potential of the talents of African youth.
The UCLG Africa – 01Talent partnership aims to train more than 500,000 talents on the continent free of charge and according to the best global standards over the next 10 years. It provides a clear response to Africa’s most precious resource, an ever-growing, creative, and dynamic youth and offers a promise of social and economic integration through the creation of 01Talent Africa / UCLG Africa collective intelligence zones: the Zones01.
The continent’s first Zone01 will be inaugurated in Praia in Cabo Verde in early 2022 and will host 300 young talents from Cabo Verde and 26 other African partner countries. These talents will be selected solely on the basis of their potential and motivation without any form of discrimination at entry. They will follow an innovative curriculum based on a “peer to peer” and gamified pedagogy that relies on 01Edu, the learning platform developed by Nicolas Sadirac and his team.
Training in digital programming and coding professions will take place over 24 months. At the end of this period, the selected talents will be employed and paid by Zone01 Cabo Verde, in partnership with the leading companies of the local and international networks of 01 Talent.
Within the next 18 months, the UCLG Africa / 01Talent Africa partnership aims to set up the first five regional collective intelligence zones on the continent: North Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa. The choice of their location will be made on a voluntary basis according to the “first come, first served” principle.
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Government of Africa (UCLG Africa), said: “Young people are Africa’s strength. They have to be its luck too. This has proven to be true in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also true for the conversion of institutions and organisations to digital that the pandemic has helped popularise.
“This conversion gives young people new employment opportunity and the space to exercise their creativity. The partnership between UCLG Africa and 01 Talent offers a unique chance to African local authorities to contribute to the training of young people in the digital field and to speed up their entry into digital culture as well as that of companies operating in their territories.”
Deror Sultan, CEO and cofounder of 01 Talent: “Youth is a priority for Africa, its most precious human capital. People aged under 25 will represent more than half of the African population in 2050. By committing ourselves to this partnership with UCLG Africa, we wish to give them hope and release their creative potential so that they contribute to innovative and digital transformation of the African continent.”