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

Abuja—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 billion. 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 Africa, 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 $100 million 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.”

About The Rockefeller Foundation
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. For more information, please visit

About Elance-oDesk
Elance-oDesk is creating online workplaces for the world. More than 2 million businesses and 8 million freelancers have tapped into and to work together via the Internet.

As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent — like software, shopping and communications before it—is shifting to the cloud. This shift is making it faster and easier for businesses to hire for the skills they need, when they need them, while freeing professionals from set time and place work. These freelancers offer any skill that can be done on a computer, from software engineering, application development and graphic design to copywriting, data science, customer service and more.

In 2013, work conducted on Elance and oDesk totaled more than $750 million. Headquartered in Mountain View, California (USA) with an office in Oslo, Norway, Elance-oDesk is a privately-held company.

For more information please contact:
Achieng’ Otieno, Communications Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office,, +254 704848792

Shoshana Deutschkron, Communications, Elance-oDesk,, 650.853.4152

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