African Summit for Women and Girls in Technology Opens in Accra

 
The Second African Summit for Women and Girls in Technology has opened in Accra on Tuesay, 9th October, 2018. The Summit which brought together over 250 women across the continent’s tech industries determined the policy steps needed to close Africa’s growing digital gender gap. 
 
A speech read by the Deputy Minister for Communications, Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei on behalf of the Minister for Communications stressed on the need to help women learn new skills and competencies to enable them adjust to changes in their various industries or take up positions in other sectors. 
“Without taking deliberate efforts to promote digital inclusion, we run the risks of girls being left behind and being further marginalised” she added.
 
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made reference to a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute which found that US$ 12 trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025 through advanced women’s equality. It was well noted that the report listed technology as one of the six key gender gaps that needs to be bridged in order for women to reach their full potentials. 
“There are huge digital skill gaps across a range of sectors due to the introduction of new technologies and processes that require IT specific skills.” she noted.
 
Speaking on the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Digital Future”, the Minister reiterated the need to proactively promote girl’s digital literacy and need to work tirelessly to close the digital gender gap in order to achieve gender equality and to ensure women and girls benefit from the opportunities presented by the emerging digital landscape.
 
She noted that the Ministry through the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT is pleased to have partnered with UNESCO, the Ministry of Education and local tech companies such as DreamOval and Soronko to launch the “Girls can Code” initiative last year. This project seeks to train three hundred (300) girls between the ages of 11-14 from junior high schools and twenty (20) teachers across the country in coding, basic ICT and programming and entrepreneurship.
 
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful in 2012 said, the Ministry of Communications adopted the policy of celebrating the “Girls in ICT” initiative in line with the International Telecommunications Unions (ITU). Furthermore, she said, “This is part of a longer-term objective of increasing female participation in this sector of the economy”. She added that the girls from public schools in selected districts obtain training in basic computer application skills at the Community Information Centres.
 
"This year, over 600 girls have been trained in basic programming, coding and web development and we are scaling-up this programme to increase our reach nationally".
She expressed gratitude to the team and coalition of organising partners including the Web Foundation, A4AI, UN Women, BMZ, OSIWA, Google, SIDA, Internet Society, African Development Bank and Facebook.