How the electrifying Africa in the World 2019 keynote address sparked coding education projects for African children

As a Festival of ideas, Africa in the World is intentional about being  a change-maker.  We know that sometimes transformation takes time, and on this path, small gains are highly valuable.   However, there are other times when the combination of ideas and connections combust, and change is instantly set in motion.  This is what happened when Ami Dror, Founder and CEO of LeapLearner delivered a keynote address at Africa in the World 2019. 

Ami made a compelling argument that no matter how poor or how rural, all children can learn to code.  He emphasised that in a digital economy immersed in endless AI projects, there are, right now, reasonable to excellent livelihoods to be made for people who can code.  The baseline for this is not level of education or proficiency in English or Mathematics.  It’s much more simple – access to a computer and internet is all LeapLearner needs to teach African children to code.

In a poverty-stricken village in Sierra Leone, they have proven this.  PONKA is an African tech start-up delivering digital AI services to global clients.  Their youthful staff learnt to code in a makeshift, solar-powered computer hub in the Ponka village.

At the end of Ami’s 2019 plenary on coding, political and other leaders wanted to partner immediately with the ed-tech company.  Kenyan Minister of Parliament, Yusuf Hassan was quick off the mark.  Following the festival, Leaplearner rolled out training for dozens of coding instructors in Nairobi and coding education projects started up.  In 2022, Kenya became the first African country to roll-out coding education in schools.  LeapLearner today has a presence in West, East and Southern African countries with thousands of children learning to code, opening new pathways for African youth to engage in the global digital economy.