UNESCO LearningCities2017: Sophia Bekele Spoke on Learning throughout life For Sustainable Development of Cities

Sophia Bekele
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PHOTO: Sophia Bekele Speaking on the third International Conference on Learning Cities at Cork City, Ireland

Learning cities are a crucial driver in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, advocates UNESCO.

Among the set SDG targets is a goal to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all which requires increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for other vulnerable populations.

Based on this, the third annual UNESCO ‘Learning Cities Conference’ that took place in Cork City  Ireland, was a real game changer for many cities. The Conference was set to address the importance of  Life Long learning, Entrepreneurship and Employment while spreading the word on development of smart cities that are globally competitive.

Among the speaking delegates was Ms. Sophia Bekele, founder of Miss.Africa, Pan-African women-in-technology program that seeks to close the digital gender divide in Africa delivered via the DCA Digital Academy.   Bekele said that the Digital connectivity and IoTs play a critical role in bettering lives of the youths as it opens the door to unprecedented knowledge, employment and financial opportunities for billions of people worldwide.

She added that lifelong Learning on sustainable Development of cities has benefits that include addressing inequalities in the various sectors of the economy, providing beneficiaries with the opportunity and know-how to pilot SMEs through entrepreneurship, enabling job creation through innovations and creativity, enabling beneficiaries to obtain employment in the formal sector.

It also contributes to improved living standards from high entrepreneurial activities and builds a key feedback mechanism to for critical analytics.

IoT opportunity in Africa is of an entirely different nature to that seen in Europe and the West. The continent’s digital developments are far from the global digital standards. However, most of the African nations have had the chance to build much of its IoT infrastructure from scratch. Cities like Rwanda & Kenya have already created an IoT ecosystem where both private and government organizations can experiment with this technology in a vibrant & lively city. i.e. Konza City, Kigali smart city project.

On this note, Bekele emphasized that DCA Group has always believed in lifelong learning and through its programs the DCA Digital Academy provides training on various topics, all related to the Internet so as to increase Internet literacy and promote lifelong learning in Africa.

This provides the tools & skills to foster entrepreneurship & also connecting youth and women to innovation highways.  This way, Africa can be part of the foundations of a technologically aware society.

The DCA Digital Academy thus have synergy with UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 16.

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