The Digital Shift Report: Perspectives from the Tanzania Youth Digital Summit 2020

A report on insights gained from the 2020 Tanzania Youth Digital Summit (TYDS) 2020, hosted virtually by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Commission, Tanzania.

We are pleased to present a snapshot of the insights gained from the 2020 Tanzania Youth Digital Summit (TYDS), hosted virtually by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Commission, Tanzania. 

TYDS is an annual collaboration geared towards supporting digital skills development among Tanzanian youth. The event inspires the innovation and participation of young people in the digital ecosystem, with a particular focus on applying a gender lens to digital inclusion. 

More than 450 youth from across Tanzania—55% of whom were young women—participated virtually, and over 20 partners were mobilized to deliver interactive sessions. The summit is also a platform for championing youth voices through co-design labs, consultative discussions, and workshops. The aim is to better understand the support young women and youth need to engage and succeed in the digital economy. Learnings from TYDS will be used to design the next iteration of digital skills and youth leadership training as part of DOT’s four-year ‘Daring to Shift’ (D2S) program, funded by the Government of Canada. 


Projections estimate the creation of 230 million digital jobs in Africa by 2030. Filling them requires the introduction of some 650 million more training opportunities. From artificial intelligence to microwork to big data, the nature of work is changing. But young women are at risk of being excluded from this shift. The gender digital divide remains pervasive worldwide, and young women often lack access and support to pursue digital opportunities. 

Compounding the gender digital divide are the effects of COVID-19 on youth-led enterprises and employment. TYDS participants expressed uncertainty around the long-term impacts of the pandemic, but agreed that those who knew how to use digital technology were able to better adapt and thrive. Gender and digital inclusion are key elements of TYDS and DOT’s offerings worldwide.

Click here to read the full report


TYDS participants chose from two dozen plenary presentations, hackathons, fireside chats, and workshops. Strategic partners were invited to present sessions, offering them the opportunity to hear the needs and ideas of young women and youth; participants, in turn, were able to network directly with partners and their peers.

The most popular TYDS sessions were those that focused on practical takeaway skills and were youth-led: 

  1. Grow your business through social media: Content plan and tips
  2. Digital truth: Opportunities and challenges facing youth digital entrepreneurs
  3. Kesho Yangu: Creating my career map for the digital era


These recommendations have been shaped by the learnings gained from TYDS participants and presenters. 

Youth shared their thoughts through a pre- and post-summit survey and session summaries were collected by youth notetakers. Focus group discussions and individual interviews were conducted with a dozen young women and presenters to hone in on their thoughts and further identify the support they need to succeed in the digital economy.

They gave recommendations on the following areas ;

  • Youth engagement in the digital economy
  • Skills to support the digital shift
  • Inclusive growth and bridging the gender digital divide

All recommendation details can be found in the full report.


TYDS 2020 was made possible through the financial support of the Embassy of Ireland and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. 

The summit would not have been possible without the support and presentations by more than 20 strategic partners: ICT Commission, Empower, MyJobPass, Niajiri, BORA International, Obuntu Hub, The Launch Pad Tanzania, TAOTIC, Safe Space Group, Women at Web Tanzania, TeknoKona Group Ltd., Global Shapers Arusha, iPF Softwares, Ndoto Hub, Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT), Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF), Cascade Global, Competa, Ona Stories, Sports 4 Change, and Kumi Media was our media and branding partner. 

Click here to read the full report


DOT will reach out to TYDS participants three months post-summit in order to evaluate how they have applied the skills gained and actioned opportunities for their digital shifts. Combined with other youth-led co-design labs currently happening across sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the full TYDS report and our three-month assessment will inform the next iteration of DOT’s digital skills and youth leadership training as part of its new Daring to Shift (D2S) program.

D2S continues to support young women as they build more resilient, equitable, and inclusive communities—and gain the confidence to take advantage of opportunities in the digital economy. D2S represents DOT’s ongoing commitment to gender inclusivity, and young women will represent 70% of all program participants. The three-month TYDS assessment will also be used to shape a skills development program to meet the unique needs of young women.


Bridging the gender digital divide depends on the collaboration of local and international partners. DOT Tanzania and the other DOT offices in Africa are always looking for ways to expand the ecosystem of support for daring young changemakers and action on the insights and recommendations gained through TYDS.

To join our efforts as a donor or strategic partner please send us an email: