Microsoft has partnered with Tech4Dev, a social initiative, to train girls and women across Africa in coding and technology skills. The partnership aims to bridge the digital and technology divide and ensure equal access to opportunities across the continent.

In a virtual meeting hosted by Microsoft Philanthropies and Tech4Dev, the Women Techsters initiative aimed at girls and women between 16 and 40 was launched. The initiative will focus on technical skills such as software development, product design, product management, data science and AI engineering, and cybersecurity.

In her opening remarks, Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director Microsoft Philanthropies MEA said, “When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry through greater access to skills and training, we not only unlock innovation, but also economic opportunities.”

The Women Techsters fellowship will be a year-long coding program and will make use of standardized learning curriculums across five learning tracks. The training will take 3 months, supported by a six-month internship and enrolment into a mentorship program.

Kendi Nderitu, Microsoft Country Manager for Kenya said, “The overall objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech empowered girls and women across the continent.”

On his part, Diwura Oladepo, Executive Director at Tech4Dev pointed out that the initiative aligns with two of the SDGs, to achieve gender equality economic growth. “Partnering with Microsoft made complete sense when it came to seeking a partner and organization. It has continuously reaffirmed its commitment to digitally transforming communities through upskilling and fostering a knowledge economy.”

Microsoft plans to skill about 6 million people in Africa by the end of 2023, as part of its Africa Inclusion plan.