Fempower Africa Volunteers and Project Facilitators

Sandra Ajaja – Digital Skills for Her by Fempower Initiative Africa

Women have become major drivers of change in Africa as we can see in recent times. There are a lot of women venturing into technology, business, and leadership, however there are very few opportunities for them as they do not have the necessary or valuable skills necessary to compete favorably with their male counterparts. Women business owners get nearly 50% less in funding than their male counterparts. Today, 90% of innovative start-ups using technology to solve humanity’s problems who are seeking venture capital investments have been founded by men. Women owned start-ups receive 23% less funding and are 30% less likely to have a positive exit – i.e. be acquired or to issue an initial public offering – compared to men-owned businesses because of the fact that most women entrepreneurs don’t understand technology so they cannot create technology businesses that most times attract venture capital.

There is no doubt that digital skills has become an essential component of the selling and buying process in a common market economy, however there is currently a very obvious gap in the digital skill set of most salespeople. This is definitely an era that is technologically driven, and guess what? Africa is definitely being left behind! An average young female African cannot adequately manage a personal life without phoning a more technically able relative which is one out of every twenty individual, cannot adequately communicate online via email or social media… There exists a huge digital gap and an average African is not harmed with digital skills to meet up with the progressing world. A lot of processes have become automated which have displaced many jobs causing increasing unemployment rate. The increasing use of new technologies has caused an increasing need for human capacity development. Thus available resources have to be trained on how to use this new technologies. Most startup companies instead of equipping their employees with the digital skills would rather utilize automated technology, which is usually much more cost effective. This has greatly increased unemployment rate. To solve this problem, digital literacy is highly important. We stand to gain tremendously if young people hone their digital skills for future proof careers and relevance in the advancing world.

Globally, it has been researched that only 20% of tech jobs are held by women. As a rising global pool of technology talent, African women are sparsely represented in this sphere and therefore still have a long way to go. We know that equality and diversity in the space will help us build better products, create more inclusive user interfaces, product experiences which both genders can relate with. This grant is important to help drive our mission of creating a better world where women are equipped with 21st century technology skills and leadership skills. Hence, we want to promote gender diversity in the creative and technology space by equipping women.