Ethiopia’s ten year-old coding champion

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Much has been written about the importance of advancing digital literacy on the African continent, especially among its younger citizens. With more than half of the world’s under-25s expected to live in Africa by 2050, mobilising and inspiring this youthful population to be active participants of the global digital economy is central to the continent’s future.
For Soliyana Gizaw Hunde, ten year-old coder and recent winner of the inaugural AfriCANCode Challenge, a love of math and science and a strong community spirit inspired her to develop a fun and engaging way to practice math and raise awareness of COVID-19 related health protocols.
“Being part of the AfriCANCode Challenge has been fun, and winning the national and overall competition was very exciting,” says Soliyana, who lives with her parents in Addis Ababa. “It has motivated me to do more and dream big.”
The AfriCANcode Challenge was introduced after the 2020 SAP Africa Code Week programme shifted to an all-virtual format in the wake of the global pandemic. The competition challenged youth aged 8 to 16 to develop a game using the Scratch coding language to reimagine school and education, or answer the question “How will your tech change the future of education?”.
Participants from 22 countries made it to the final round of the competition, and the winner was announced in early 2021. All of the top three winners were girls, with Soliyana crowned overall winner at a virtual prize-giving ceremony in February.