[4th Gen #4] Case study: Digital Jobs Africa

Case study: Digital Jobs Africa

By: Noona Bäckgren

Digital Jobs Africa, which is founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, aims at “connecting Africa’s rapidly growing youth population with sustainable employment opportunities”1. The Rockefeller Foundation is a philanthropic organization and private foundation based in New York, US. The foundation focuses on “creating meaningful and measurable impact for poor and vulnerable communities through smart globalization”2, and at the moment the organization has multiple projects going on in Africa: for example, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa3 and Disease Surveillance Networks4.

What is Digital Jobs Africa?

Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) was launched in 2013 to advance sustainable employment opportunities and skills training for African youth. The project has a clear focus on the ICT sector. The primary goal of the project is to positively impact 1 million lives in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. Indirectly, the project will improve the social and economic well-being of entire families, communities, and nations. DJA works through three different pathways:

  1. Building favourable business environments that will lead to the creation of new digital jobs in diverse sectors, including retail and hospitality, and the emerging e-government sector.
  2. Engaging the private sector to prioritize the hiring of young people for these jobs, in part through the growth of “impact sourcing” (explained below).
  3. Working with job training providers to ensure youth has the needed skills to take on these opportunities.

DJA works in close partnership with actors from the private sector, government, civil society and the development community to ensure that these efforts are sustained5.


What is impact sourcing?
Impact sourcing, which is also known as socially responsible outsourcing,

Image by Digital Jobs Africa

Image by Digital Jobs Africa

aims to provide higher-income employment and access to new income opportunities to people who might not otherwise be employed in this sector6. It is about bringing outsourced jobs – call centers, business process outsourcing and the like – to rural parts of the world, as a means of job creation and community building7. According to the Rockefeller Foundation, incomes for young people in Africa who get employed through impact sourcing, can increase by 40 to 200 percent. Simultaneously, because of lower training costs and lower attrition, companies that apply impact sourcing can spend 40 percent less than others8.

SWOT analysis: Digital Jobs Africa project

The DJA project is interesting in relation to GESCI-AKE for many reasons, one of them being that their work will be led out of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office in Kenya9. This means that the opportunities and possible positive impact might well “trickle down” to other similar projects going on in the area, such as the one we are working with here. The aims of the DJA are also somewhat similar to The Sound of the City and the multi-stakeholder hub that GESCI wants to become. 
   However, importantly, the DJA is an on-going project and thus its impact, strengths and weaknesses are difficult to assess. This is due to lack of adequate tools, such as a report, outlining the main results and findings of the project or the possibility to track the advancing of the project through a dedicated website, blog etc.

Nonetheless, I have organized a basic SWOT analysis on DJA because of its relevancy and significant impact in Kenya:

Strengths– Good funding. The Rockefeller Foundation invests $100 million in the project10

– The project is led from Kenya, where also GESCI is situated

Weaknesses– As a philanthropy organisation the Rockefeller foundation might not be best equipped to speak the right language to the business sector11

– Vague strategy

Opportunities– DJA could provide the concrete next step for The Sound of the City as it wants to create favourable business environments that will lead to the creation of digital jobs

– The Rockefeller Foundation could also be interested in GESCI-AKE

Threats– DJA focuses on impact sourcing, and though it aims to create digital jobs, its focus is not in creative industries


Digital Jobs Africa is a project that could well prove to be very useful for GESCI-AKE. However, it will take time before its true impact and significance are known. The project is still fairly young which might work for the benefit of GESCI-AKE – there is time to make contacts and possibly to be part of the formation of DJA.


1. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/digital-jobs-africa/

2. http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/grants/what-we-fund/

3. http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/alliance-for-a-green-revolution-in-africa/

4. http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/alliance-for-a-green-revolution-in-africa/

5. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/digital-jobs-africa/

6. http://www.accenture.com/us-en/Pages/insight-exploring-value-proposition-impact-sourcing.asp

7. http://www.forbes.com/sites/nishacharya/2014/04/22/impact-sourcing-an-opportunity-that-actually-needs-to-have-impact/

8. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/digital-jobs-africa/

9. http://www.slideshare.net/RockefellerFound/digital-jobs-africa?related=1

10. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/digital-jobs-africa/

11. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jun/03/digital-jobs-africa-youth-unemployment-rockefeller


One thought on “[4th Gen #4] Case study: Digital Jobs Africa

  1. Noona – it looks as if your team are answering all my questions. In my last post I asked for case studies which could inform the AKE on issues of start-up funding and networking – and here you provide an overview and swot analysis of Digital Jobs for Africa (DJA). I also found it interesting that you could not find any reports on the impact of this Rockefeller DJA initiative – while you note the project is on-going. However as the project purports to aim for ‘meaningful and measureable impact for poor and vulnerable communities through smart globalization’ – there would be an expectation of monitoring reports on interim impact – but sometimes these reports are not released by organziations to the public domain.

    It makes this process of the AKE LL research and open blog with inputs form experts from Kenya and all over the world – inclusive of you and your fellow students all the more interesting.

    Your analysis of potential partnership with DJA even within the parameters of threats of focus (where DJA may not have interest in creative media industries) is nevertheless good ground work analysis of potential partners. Mary


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