About the Program

Transforming the Continent from ‘Aid to Africa’ to ‘Made in Africa’ — Njideka Harry, President and CEO, Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF)

3D Africa is a youth and women economic empowerment program developed by the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), a nonprofit organization with years of experience combining education, technology, and economic development to transform economically challenged populations into self-sustainable communities.

Transforming Lives and Communities with 3D Printing

Africa has shown an incredible ability to leap-frog older forms of technology in favor of adopting the latest. It skipped traditional landline phones, as well as dial-up, and moved straight to mobile phones and wireless broadband.

Digital manufacturing and 3D printing will revolutionize Africa’s manufacturing industry in the same way that smart phones and mobile broadband are transforming the service, trade, and agricultural industries. The lack of an established manufacturing sector means that most Africans rely on importing items such as machine parts, consumables, household goods, tools, and building materials.

As 3D printing becomes more versatile and affordable, African nations can digitally manufacture 3D printed objects domestically and reduce dependency on costly imports. It will allow entrepreneurs to not only sell their products throughout their country, but throughout the world—joining the global economy for the first time. It will create an environmentally friendly ecosystem that doesn’t require factories, machinery, labor, and capital. The savings, both direct and indirect, will afford many people the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.

The 3D Africa Strategy

YTF knows there are two entry points for 3D printing. The first is by the primary-to-university education sector and the second is by innovation corridors of entrepreneurs. 3D Africa builds on the foundation of a successful pilot program whose participants used 3D printing to create new and expanded existing businesses. Combining classroom and online learning and business development training –including hands-on support from corporate partners — 3D Africa’s programs for secondary school students, university students, adults seeking employment, and women entrepreneurs are replacing economic disparity with economic opportunity.

By 2025, 66% of global demand will come from emerging markets. 3D printing has the capacity to transform the supply chain through next-shoring, transcending geography, participating in global marketplaces, and focusing on physical proximity to emerging markets, talent, and customers.

3D printing creates products for local, distant, and global marketplaces. 3D Africa inspires careers and businesses.