A free learning app that will reach 26 million young Africans in 2026

Olivier Laouchez (co-founder and executive director of Trace) says that Trace Academia, an educational app for young Africans that is free to use, will make a significant contribution to Africa’s youth employment agenda.

Yesterday Trace and Mastercard Foundation unveiled an interactive mobile app that will help youth acquire market-relevant skills. After having been tested in four African nations, the app is now available on Android and iOS.

On Trace Academia users can access courses in both English and French the company confirmed that it will also be offering Portuguese-language courses, in a press release. The content will cover technical courses that are relevant to 15 industries, including energy, beauty and fashion, DIY, digital marketing as well as hospitality, creativity, journalism, film and technology.

Furthermore, Laouchez says courses that are “more broadly relevant” will also be added. These include courses in entrepreneurship, public speaking and personal well-being. “Each course featured on the application has been designed in collaboration with an industry leading organisation to ensure its relevance to employers and the job market,” he says.

Start your career

Trace Academia predicts that 26 millions of African youth will benefit from the app-based certificate and courses by 2026. “This app aims to train them with the skills they need to find or create work and the opportunities to kickstart their careers. I strongly believe that their current circumstances should never be a hindrance to their success.”

Peter Materu is chief programme officer for the Mastercard Foundation and says that there are two aspects of the Trace Academia he finds particularly exciting.

“The platform offers young people total flexibility and control over their learning. Users can learn at the pace they prefer, at their own convenience, and adapt their journey to meet any changes in the work world. Second, the courses are deeply practical and designed in collaboration with market-leading organizations to ensure they are industry-relevant,” he says.

“The Mastercard Foundation is pleased to support this platform as part of our Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young people to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.”

Materu reiterates the importance of the platform for Africa’s youth employment agenda. As the youngest continent in the world, with nearly 65% of its population under the age of 25, Africa is home to the workforce of the future, and with the right skills and opportunities, young people could be the continent’s greatest drivers of transformation.

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