Airtel Africa and UNICEF have announced a five-year pan-African partnership to help accelerate the roll-out of digital learning by connecting schools to the Internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms across 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The telecom company will commit $57 million to the partnership over five years up until 2027. The program will provide technology and expertise and direct financial support to connect schools and communities to the Internet, enabling free access to online educational content for learners.
Airtel Africa is a leading telecommunications and mobile money services provider in Africa, with a presence in 14 countries. The company was founded in 2010 after the acquisition of the Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications company Zain by Bharti Airtel, a telecom outfit founded by Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal.
According to a release on the Nigerian Stock exchange, the multimillion-dollar deal aims to provide equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children, to help them reach their full potential.
It is the first African private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to UNICEF’s Reimagine Education,* an initiative that aims to give children an opportunity to catch up on their learning needs amid the continuing global pandemic.
“Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. “By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track.”
The partnership will benefit learners in Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
*Reimagine Education is a global initiative launched by UNICEF in 2020, calling for public and private sector investment in digital learning as an essential service for every child and young person across the globe.