It is no news that (young) people across Africa are thirsty to explore how to take better advantage of the internet and the opportunities it offers; but frameworks that provide digital skills training on the continent are few and far between so in April this year, Google announced its commitment to train 1 million Africans on digital skills within a year and admitted to knowing it was going to be a tough task, but went ahead with the programme anyway.

Fast forward 6 months, Google is celebrating the achievement of training half a million people in so little time already! Over 500,000 Africans have received training that will enable them to build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.

A recent Digital Skills training session at City Hall in Johannesburg, S. Africa

A recent Digital Skills training session at City Hall in Johannesburg, S. Africa

Some of the trainees include Esalako Hillary from Nairobi who signed up for the digital skills program to learn how to use online tools to promote his new company Entrevene Africa – a social enterprise that encourages entrepreneurship amongst university students. After the training he realized that, in addition to promoting his company, he could also offer a digital marketing service as an additional offering to his clients. Four months later, Esalako and his team have expanded their business and grown their revenues by over 60%. Vanessa Morris, a journalism graduate from Nigeria had never heard about the term ‘digital marketing’ before she was invited to one of the digital skills courses by a friend. She decided to pursue a career in digital marketing after the training, and has since taken up a social media manager role with a top production company in Nigeria. In Vanessa’s words, “the best thing about this is that I now earn a lot more money doing a job that I really love.”

If you’d like to attend the training physically but don’t have the time to, you can still acquire these digital skills from your smartphone or computer through Google’s new Digital Skills for Africa online portal. The portal contains 89 online lessons on a wide range of digital subjects including web analytics, social media management and mobile marketing. Available in English and French and in the near future in Portuguese. The projection is that the portal will enable more people in more African countries to make the most of the web. The training is available to anyone, and people who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Online Proficiency.

Here’s to the next 500,000 African digital entrepreneurs!