DigiTruck: Bringing Digital Skills to Senegal's Young People
Senegal is Africa's westernmost nation and, with a median age of just 18, many of its young population are on the cusp of employment age.
However, with an Internet penetration rate of 58.1% as of January 2023, much of the nation remains offline and the digital literacy rate is low. Due to a lack of basic digital infrastructure, the lack of digital skills is especially acute in rural areas where around 49% of the nation's 17.7 million people live.
These challenges in turn impact Senegal's intellectual resources on a national scale and hamper individual socioeconomic opportunities.
To help facilitate digital access for all and bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas, Huawei and partners launched the DigiTruck program in Senegal to provide free training in digital skills for young people. Aiming to reach 5,000 youth over the next three years, the DigiTruck is a mobile classroom that comes equipped with 20 workstations, Huawei computers, tablets, smartphones, and an Internet connection.
Converted from a used shipping container mounted on a truck and fully solar-powered, the DigiTruck can reach remote areas that lack training facilities and even cater for communities without a power supply.
Gearing up for the future
As well as teaching basic digital literacy skills, the DigiTruck course, which is facilitated by TECH4ALL partner Close the Gap, also includes soft skills that can help prepare young people for employment. These include writing a resume, starting an online business, and in the case of the Senegal DigiTruck, robotics.
As of August 2023, the DigiTruck had provided training for 500 young people in six communities.
Young people to be trained
A partnership approach
Under the authority of the Ministry of Youth, Entrepreneurship and Employment, the Senegal DigiTruck is a partnership project between the Ministry of National Education; the Ministry of Communications, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy; the telco Orange Sonatel Close the Gap; and Huawei.
At the opening ceremony of the Invest In Senegal Forum, the Head of State, His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, praised the project's contribution to digital inclusion in Senegal.
At the Senegal Connect Forum, Sekou Dramé, Managing Director of Sonatel, together with Philippe Wang, Executive Vice-President of Huawei Northern Africa, and Lionel Liu, Managing Director of Huawei in Senegal, who visited the site, praised the project.