The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank private sector promotional arm is funding a very ambitious project in Ethiopia aimed at training 250 young women to become programmers. The will be carried out by the Ethiopian ed-tech and job placement startup Gebeya using the US$500,000 advisory services agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to implement the Digital Gender-Ethiopia Programme, aimed at solving the issues of gender disparity in the areas of technology and innovation. Gebeya focuses on cultivating the untapped tech potential of African youth to prepare them for the demands of the global market, training young people with technical skills and helping them find jobs.

It has now signed an agreement with the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance (We-Fi) Initiative, to train 250 female software developers and provide seed funding to 20 female entrepreneurs whose digital business ideas will be supported by Gebeya.

The entrepreneurs will receive technical and strategic guidance on business development from Gebeya, alongside advisory services from IFC worth US$50,000, to support mentorship programmes from globally recognised digital entrepreneurs. Gebeya will be responsible for identifying talented candidates who can benefit from the programme based on needs. The training will be conducted in four six-month cohorts.

“This commitment by the IFC in Ethiopia will allow us to prioritise women developers across our collective training modules and quickly mobilise them for the growing global demand,” said Hiruy Amanuel, co-founder of Gebeya. The company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Amadou Daffe said the project would enable Gebeya to increase its scope beyond the current student-paid model to include a cohort of female software developers.

“African women constitute 50 per cent of Africa’s population but only contribute 39 percent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is a result of their inability to afford tuition, societal misconception around women and career ability, inadequate familial support as well as gender stereotypes. We can no longer stand back and watch as intelligent, capable African women are pushed to the sidelines. We have to do our part to close the gender gap in technology where females are highly underrepresented,” he said.

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