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Kisumu County signs Sh100 million digital training deal

Kisumu County Government has secured a Sh 100 million facility to establish a collective digital intelligence centre in the area.

Through partnership with the United Cities and Local Government of Africa (UCLGA), 01 Talent Africa and LakeHub, Kisumu will host the first digital intelligence centre in the country.

The centre will offer cutting edge digital training for thousands of youths from Western Kenya and beyond to complement the national government’s digital transformation agenda.

UCLGA Secretary General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi said the initiative was in line with the organisation’s strategic plan to accelerate digital transformation in local authorities across the continent.

Mbassi said the training to be offered by Lake Hub and 01 Talent Africa will open up opportunities for the youth who hitherto could not afford to enroll for the programmes.

The centre, he added, will churn out local digital talent for Africa equipped with cutting edge skills in Information Technology (IT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This, he said, was set to not only create employment opportunities but also beef up Africa’s digital space workforce to be at par with the developed world.

Speaking after signing the agreement in Kisumu, Mbassi said Africa must work towards producing 500,000 digital talents over the next ten years to address the widening digital divide.

Kisumu and the larger Nyanza and Western regions, he said had a lot of talent adding that through the centre domiciled at the Kisumu County Business Incubation hub, other sub national governments across the continent were set to benchmark and learn from the centre.

Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o said the centre will act as a vehicle to accelerate development and at the same time position Kisumu as a business hub.

Counties within the Lake Region Economic Bloc, he said stand to benefit immensely from the project to open up opportunities in the digital space.

He lauded the partnership adding that the Sh 100 million will underwrite training costs for thousands of youths in the area and at the same time address the issue of unemployment.

The Kisumu hub, dubbed Zone 01will open this July with the first cohort expected to start the training before the end of the year.

An ambitious talent identification campaign is expected to kick off later this month where online cognitive tests will be administered.

Those who pass the tests will undergo peer to peer learning and group problem solving before the first 100 beneficiaries are picked to start the training. Successful candidates will secure jobs at the 01-talent academy while others shall be placed in partner companies within Kisumu.

01 Talent Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Deror Sultan said the programme targets to unleash the youth’s potential to contribute to the innovation and digital transformation in the world.

“By creating Zone 01 Centers of Collective Intelligence in partnership with local authorities, we offer African youth the opportunity to unleash their creative potential and lead the digital transformation of the continent,” he said.

Across the continent, he disclosed targets to train and employ one million youths by the year 2030.

Lakehub Director of Programs Dorcas Owino said the initiative would open up training opportunities for the youth to accelerate digital transformation. “Through this initiative, digital training will no longer be a privilege. More youths from disadvantaged backgrounds will also benefit,” she said.

By Chris Mahandara

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