The X Factor building tomorrow’s digital economy

South Africa (Cape Town)

By 2030, Africa will have the world’s largest working population, but few Africans currently have the technical and product development skills to build the software to serve their own markets. Developing software – and the associated jobs – are taken up in other parts of the world.

codeX is a coding apprenticeship college in Cape Town working to solve this chronic lack of trained developers. Founder and CEO Elizabeth Gould says: “The emphasis is on deploying working software and continuously improving on it, agile thinking and methods, user experience design, test-driven development, and developing the practical skills one needs to be a lifelong learner in today’s software industry.”

The school works with companies who sponsor seats, and unemployed youth who get to solve problems in their communities, as well as move from disadvantaged backgrounds into highly skilled jobs. The first intake of raw talent has already developed software to deal with corruption, school registration, informal moneylending, and tools to combat xenophobia. Gould hopes that this model can be replicated through franchises across the continent, and that one day these entrepreneurial coders will create the companies, software and jobs to solve many of the continent’s problems.

Written by

Claire Proudfoot (01 August 2015)


Claire is an international producer/ director based in London. The South African spends most of her time making content in sub-Saharan Africa about tech, healthcare and gender.

Project leader

Elizabeth Gould, Co-founder and CEO

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  1. Nothani

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