Ethiopia-born entrepreneur launches e-learning marketplace

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Ethiopia-born entrepreneur Brook Negussie has launched eLearnAfrica, an online marketplace for education that aims to simplify the process of finding and enrolling for online courses, degrees and professional certifications from universities across the world.

eLearnAfrica, which is available via web or free Android app, is a social enterprise committed to increasing and expanding educational and employment opportunities throughout Africa.

Its web portal connects users of all educational levels to trusted third-party and collaboratively created content, delivering tailored recommendations to users. The startup has partnered with online course providers to make available courses from some of the best universities in the world.  

The courses use video and other online resources, with students taking a short test to progress to the next class. Most can be taken for free, with some courses offering a verified certificate of completion for a modest administration fee.

Negussie said he hopes eLearnAfrica can become Africa’s most trusted source for open education.  

“As an educational platform, eLearnAfrica offers opportunities to African students at every stage of higher education and career development, with courses from the world’s best universities, including full degrees, vocational training, and industry-standard professional certifications,” he said.  

“We set out to combine local knowledge with long-term global expertise through partnerships and academic excellence, to bring the best in the world to Africa in one easily accessible marketplace.”

The startup works with non-profit online learning platform edX, founded by Harvard University and MIT, and FutureLearn, a social learning platform owned by the Open University, to offer courses to users.

“We’re very pleased to be one of the launch partners for eLearnAfrica. Although we are UK-based, 70 per cent of our learners are based in countries outside the UK and with our mission to pioneer the best social learning experience for everyone, anywhere, eLearnAfrica is a great partner for us,” said Nigel Smith, head of content at FutureLearn.

“With eight per cent of our current learners based in Africa, there is clearly an existing appetite for free, high quality education from reliable and trustworthy sources but also huge potential for growth. We offer a vast array of professional development courses that can increase employability or help learners to start their own businesses, while our general interest courses provide something for everyone with lifelong learning ambitions.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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