May 13, 2013 02:24 PM EDT

Rockefeller Foundation to Invest $97 Million Into African Digital Jobs

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In a bid to help create jobs for young Africans in the rapidly growing information and communications technology (ICT) sectors in the continent, Rockefeller Foundation announced Monday a pledge to give $97 million to help fuel job growth.

"There is no better place to announce the official launch of the Rockefeller Foundation's Digital Jobs Africa initiative, a $97 million investment," said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, according to a statement.

The new initiative is called Digital Jobs Africa and plans to reach out to one million youths over the next seven years and would focus on six African countries- Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco - all of which have dynamic and growing services sectors and offer the potential for continued ICT development.

Africa has the youngest population in the world today, with the number of people between age 15 and 24 expected to double to 400 million by 2045. Sixty percent of young people in Africa are unemployed, and youth unemployment rates are double those of adult unemployment in most African countries.

"Digital Jobs Africa recognizes the enormous talent pool of young people in Africa who lack access to quality sustainable employment opportunities - and seeks to catalyze opportunities to close that gap," said Dr. Rodin. "As the Rockefeller Foundation celebrates our Centennial year and looks to our second century, we are supporting innovative ways to advance our century long commitment to improve the lives of poor or vulnerable people across Africa. Innovative, energetic and better informed African youth have the potential to drive economic growth and development, and this new initiative will marry that potential with the growth of technology to increase much needed employment opportunities."

Read more about the Rockefeller Foundation's Digital Jobs Africa initiative here.

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