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WFP and UAE announce strategic partnership to accelerate digital schools initiative in Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG/NEW YORK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement to implement an innovative initiative to equip schools in the Southern African region with high-quality digital and hybrid education.

The Digital Schools initiatives align with Southern Africa's national education standards and will specifically target learners in the remote parts of the region.

“Education is of utmost priority in the UAE, and in partnership with esteemed organizations such as WFP and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), we are eager to see the expansion of The Digital School across southern Africa and the rest of the continent,” said HE Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, UAE state Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The Digital School initiative has a well-established track record of enhancing education on a global scale,” he added.

Dr Waleed Al Ali, Secretary General of the Digital Schools Initiative and a senior advisor at Mohamad Bin Rashid Global Initiatives, signed the agreement with Ute Klamert, WFP's Assistant Executive Director of Partnerships and Advocacy. Also present was Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence.

His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama stated: “The Digital School is a pioneering experience in developing digital education and transitioning it to the application phase, making it accessible to students in various regions of the world, particularly for less privileged communities, and providing them with the opportunity to learn.” He stressed that the future of education relies significantly on utilizing digital solutions, which he described as pivotal in empowering students worldwide to access quality education.


“Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development,” said Ute Klaimert. “WFP welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the UAE in scaling up digital technology as part of its school feeding activities in southern Africa.”

The UAE’s Digital Schools initiative has provided training to 1,500 educators and enrolled 60,000 students in 8 countries. Through this partnership with WFP, the initiative sets its sights on reaching one million students in 16 countries by 2030.


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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.


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For more information, please contact (email address:

Tomson Phiri, WFP/Johannesburg,
Tel: +27 081 026 3792