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The World Bank awards $20mn grant to Smart Africa’s Digital Academy for expansion across the continent

The World Bank is collaborating with Smart Africa ( to expand the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) initiative on a regional level through the Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP), with a grant of USD 20 million over 5 years.

This expansion will build on the current SADA implementation and AReg4DT program to train a new generation of policymakers and regulators in Africa. The goal is to equip them with the knowledge to utilize green and inclusive digital transformation strategies in policy making and regulation, and collectively contribute to the establishment of a Single Digital Market in Africa.

The scale-up aims to reach 30,000 unique policymakers and decision makers from all African countries, with a targeted participation of females at 40%.

Through this grant, the World Bank is demonstrating its dedication to digital transformation in Africa, which will in turn support regional integration and the adoption of a Single Digital Market for Africa.

Originally launched by the Smart Africa Alliance with initial funding of approximately thirty thousand US dollars, SADA began with online training for policy and decision makers in August 2020. SADA has since made significant progress in advancing digital skills and creating a dynamic learning ecosystem across Africa with support from NORAD, BMZ/GIZ, and other partners.

SADA’s mission is to bridge the digital skills gap in African countries, enhance employability, and meet the evolving talent demands of African citizens. To date, SADA has trained over 7000 individuals in various digital transformation topics across 35 African countries.

CEO of Smart Africa, Mr. Lacina Koné, emphasized the importance of bridging the digital skills gap for Africa’s workforce and commended the partnership with the World Bank for supporting SADA’s growth.

As the implementation progresses, SADA will prioritize competency-based skills training to prepare talents for the job market in Africa and beyond. Additionally, the program will integrate ICT and digital skills into Africa’s educational system, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics for teachers and students.

SADA recognizes the diverse digital skilling needs in Africa and targets five main groups with tailored interventions: Policy and Decision Makers, Youth and Entrepreneurs, Teachers and Students, Digital Experts, and the General Public. The program builds on existing initiatives and collaborations with international organizations and tech companies to create innovative solutions.

For more information, contact:

Smart Africa
Yvan Guéhi
Head of Brand and Communications

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About the World Bank IDA:
The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, providing grants and low-interest loans to support development projects in 76 countries, with a significant focus on Africa.

About Smart Africa:
Smart Africa is an alliance of 39 African countries and global organizations committed to advancing Africa’s digital agenda and accelerating socio-economic development through ICTs and affordable broadband access.


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