We’re living in a world where most of the pressing issues we face are addressed using the essence of technology. We are in an era where almost everything involves some sort of coding in it. In a continent where human capital serves as our largest resource – adding the fact that more than 30% of the total population is below the age of 30 – and where many of our problems are yet to be solved, coding would play a huge role in our growth and development. If anyone is going to solve our problems, it should be us who should be coding our solutions, because no understands a problem better than its owner. Now here lies the bigger question – do we actually have the capacity to code our way out of our problems?

Do we actually have the capacity to code our way out of our problems?

It hurts me when I tell you we can’t – well, not yet at least. Although there are a growing number of tech companies in our continent, these companies are still struggling to hire competent candidates to fill in some tech positions. This would not be promising in the long run as there won’t be enough skilled human power available in this particular field of expertise.
I still believe this larger problem came about due to negligence to the current trends of the world. Most African schools are still following curriculum that was drafted decades ago and are probably outdated by now while they should be coming up with new ones that would include trends like coding and arts of self-expression – as in the case of photography, designing and fashion. These features are considered paramount to our identity these days. Thus, I suppose people are not well aware what these arts – particularly programming (the art of coding) – can possibly do for them.
The reality is that programming education is not given as much attention as the other constituents of basic STEM education. This is true in Africa and particularly in my country, Ethiopia. But I’d like to suggest that if math and science are taught to students to help them understand the world they’re living in, then programming should be given a chance too.

We’re living in a technological society and it’s only going to grow in the future. Of course it’s one thing to use tech products but it’s another to control it. Africans need not be passive consumers of these technologies but become creators and innovators of it. Imagine how many problems will be solved, how many jobs would be created, how many ideas that would be realized and – most of all – how many lives would be changed.
Africa Needs to Code.

By: Nathan Damtew