Airtel Africa and UNICEF have announced a 5-year pan-African partnership to help accelerate the roll-out of digital learning through connecting schools to the internet across 13 African countries. The partnership further aims to provide equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children in the region.

Airtel Africa’s financial contribution for this partnership is Ksh. 6.3 billion ($57 million) over the next five years. The programme will involve technology and expertise, in addition to direct financial support to connect schools and communities to the internet. This in order to enable free access to online educational content for learners. It will also provide vital data insights to inform UNICEF’s work to scale-up digital learning and help ensure it is sustainable and meets students’ needs across Africa.

Airtel Africa becomes the first African private sector partner to make a commitment to Reimagine Education, a global initiative advocating for public and private sector investment in digital learning. This initiative by UNICEF aims to give children a chance to catch up on their learning needs amid the ongoing global pandemic.

The Airtel Africa and UNICEF pan-African partnership will benefit learners in Kenya, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Commenting on Airtel’s support, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track.”