23 May 2014

Africa: The Rockefeller Foundation and Elance-Odesk Collaborate to Expand Job Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth in Africa Through Online Work

press release

New York — The Rockefeller Foundation and Elance-oDesk will join forces to unlock the potential of online work for disadvantaged youth in Africa.

Today the internet offers millions of job opportunities to a global distributed workforce.

The online work sector has experienced phenomenal growth over the past several years and by one estimate could reach $16 billion by 2020 and by another estimate expand to $46 billion1. Much of this growth will come from closing skills gaps by making it easier for people to find each other and work together. There are more than 1 billion people in Africa2, many of whom reside in areas traditionally difficult for top global employers to access, yet highly motivated to earn an income.

Online work is opening up opportunity by connecting these people to jobs via the Internet. This work can include any type of skill that can be done via a computer, such as web research, social marketing, programming, writing, translation and design.

Elance-oDesk and The Rockefeller Foundation will collaborate on outreach efforts to help drive an increase in the number of high potential but disadvantaged youth in Africa who can access online jobs. This collaboration will advance the goals of the Foundation's Digital Jobs Africa Initiative which was launched in 2013. The initiative is a $100million initiative aimed at connecting high potential abut disadvantaged youth to jobs in the digital economy.

The organizations will also collaborate on research to better understand how to catalyze online work opportunities for African youth. Through this collaboration it is anticipated high potential but disadvantaged youth in Africa will benefit from increased income and skills development as a result of successful access and participation on online work platforms.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to be working in collaboration with Elance-oDesk to ensure that more youth in Africa acquire relevant skills and sustainable jobs in this connected era. We will work together to ensure that young people on the continent are aware of the opportunity presented by online work and develop the skills to successfully access online jobs for income generation, skills development and increased digital work experience” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation's Africa Regional Office.

“Elance-oDesk is honored to collaborate with the Rockefeller Foundation on efforts together to bring more work to disadvantaged youth,” said Rich Pearson Senior Vice President of Geographies and Categories at Elance-oDesk. “Online work is allowing aspiring professionals around the world to tap into job opportunities via the Internet that they would otherwise not have access to. Africa's youths deserve equal access to these jobs and we're confident that this partnership will help open doors for them.”

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