Thousands brace for a continental ICT camp for African girls

Addis Ababa, 27 November 2020 (ECA) - Over 3000 women and girls from across Africa are expected to participate in a hybrid (online and in-person) event scheduled to run from 30 November to 11 December 2020, focusing on ICT as a crucial tool for women’s empowerment.

The 11-day event is jointly organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) under the auspices of the United Nations 75th anniversary celebrations and the Decade of Action for achieving the SDGs.

“Our goal is to empower women and young girls through the development of skills for sustainable inclusive entrepreneurship, and harness digital technologies to accelerate implementation of the SDGs in line with the Declaration on the Decade of Action and Delivery on Sustainable Development,” said Jean-Paul Adam, ECA’s Director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management.

More importantly, he added, it is “unacceptable that only 22.6% of African women had access to the internet, compared to 33.8% of men in 2019. We have an obligation to bridge the gender digital gap by promoting women and girls’ access to digital channels and increase the number of girls who participate in the fourth industrial revolution in support of Africa’s growth efforts.”

Addressing this gender gap can create significant opportunities for the continent. It is estimated that closing this gender gap just in mobile phone ownership and data usage in low- and middle-income countries could generate an annual USD $15 billion in revenue for mobile operators.

While Africa remains with the widest digital divide, it is the most dynamic continent in terms of ICTs adoption, with rapidly evolving penetration rates and extraordinary innovations driven by scarcity and lack of access to affordable quality infrastructure, latest technologies, devices and apps.

The joint ECA-ITU hybrid camp will bring together (in-person) 124 girls to the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, with thousands of others joining online. They will be trained to code using the Scratch program, and will also be exposed to interactions that espouse gender equality, mainstreaming and techniques in confidence building and public speaking.

Several workshops will be held in areas such as Robotics and Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, Gaming, Fashion, Animation, Gender empowerment, SDGs and Human Rights. The event will feature a competition where winners are selected based on the functionality (of the apps they develop), innovation, accessibility, commercial potential and overall impact for the Africa region.

The event is open to the Girls from ITU’s African Girls Can Code Initiative, UN Women, AUC women, and young girls between 13-20 years old across Africa and other age groups of women who have shown an interest in ICTs including those in innovation hubs.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826