The World Bank has announced a landmark $20 million grant to support the expansion of Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA). This partnership aims to bridge Africa’s digital skills gap and drive the creation of a Single Digital Market on the continent.

The 5-year grant is part of the Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP), and seeks to equip a new generation of African policymakers and regulators with the expertise needed to shape a green and inclusive digital future for the continent. SADA’s ambitious goal is to train 30,000 policymakers and decision-makers across Africa, with a focus on ensuring 40% female participation.

“SADA is at the forefront of building our continent’s digital workforce of the future. This crucial partnership with the World Bank marks a major turning point in our journey,” noted Mr. Lacina Koné, CEO of Smart Africa.

Key Objectives of the Collaboration:

  • Develop Digitally Savvy Leaders: SADA’s training will ensure that African policymakers and regulators are well-versed in leveraging digital technologies, empowering them to craft effective policies.
  • Drive Regional Integration: The initiative aligns with the World Bank’s goal of accelerating Africa’s digital transformation and establishing a vibrant Single Digital Market across the continent.
  • Foster Skills for Employability: SADA focuses on developing market-relevant, competency-based skills to enhance African citizens’ employability in the digital economy.

Smart Africa Digital Academy’s Success Story

Since its inception in 2020, SADA has trained over 7,000 people in 35 African countries, thanks to initial support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the German Federal Ministry for Corporation and Development, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (BMZ /GIZ). The academy emphasizes a multi-pronged approach, tailoring its programs to policymakers, youth, teachers, digital experts, and the broader public.

“Through the DTfA/WARDIP initiative, the World Bank aims to build an interconnected and prosperous digital future for West Africa, underpinned by regional integration, collaboration, and strategic investments,” remarked Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa and the Middle East.

This substantial investment signifies the World Bank’s strong belief in SADA’s model and its potential to drive profound digital transformation throughout Africa.


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