Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo

Nigeria-Microsoft deal to accelerate digital economy, skilling, job creation: VP Osinbajo

*In line with the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed about five million Nigerians will benefit from a digital upskilling programme across the six geopolitical zones of the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of its commitment to leveraging innovation and technology for better outcomes in governance concerns in Nigeria, the Federal Government says it is partnering with Microsoft Corporation to accelerate the country’s resolve to activate a more digital economy.

Mr. Laolu Akande, Spokesman for Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement Monday, May 3, said the move is in line with the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In a dual announcement Monday by both the government and the global technology giant, about five million Nigerians also would benefit from a digital upskilling programme, according to report.

“We will be providing digital skills to five million Nigerians over the next three years, and along the way, creating 27,000 new jobs during the same period,” said he.

Microsoft Nigeria Office

Locations of the digital training programmes in each of the six geopolitical zones would also enjoy active Internet connection and cloud services courtesy of the government’s digital transformation plan.

Vice-President Osinbajo, speaking earlier in a formal video announcement of the partnership with Microsoft, said the Nigerian Government is committed to leveraging innovations and technology to bring better outcomes across a wide area of governance concerns in the country.

The Vice-President: “Indeed, it is with this in mind that we have sought constructive partnerships that bridge the knowledge, skills and technology gap that exist in most of our communities.

“This launch is indicative of our commitment to this and will involve collaboration with various government agencies as implementing partners.

He stated: “The Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigerian Institute of Cultural Orientation, and various other local partners.

“We intend that these initiatives become institutions in their own rights and make a real impact in the lives of our citizens going forward.”

The partnership with the tech giant anchored on connectivity, skilling and digital transformation, followed discussions between both parties led by the Vice-President and Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, earlier in 2021.

In January, Prof. Osinbajo had a virtual meeting with Smith where discussions covered areas of intersection between technology and governance to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.

The Vice-President further explained the core areas of the partnership, the partnership would focus on two pillars – connectivity and skilling, as well as digital transformation.

He explained: “We plan to connect under-served communities in each of the six geo-political zones with access to internet and cloud services.

“This project is a critical component of our objective of expanding broadband connectivity, which is by itself, a major pillar of our Economic Sustainability Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Osinbajo added: “Working with Microsoft, we intend to upskill five million Nigerians through this increased internet access over the next three years in various digital skills which will increase both employability and entrepreneurship.

“The multiplier effect will bring opportunities in rural and urban areas to many young people and will help us deal with unemployment problems made worse by the pandemic.”

According to him, the government seeks to use cutting-edge analytical and case management tools to plug holes in the public sector system and confront white-collar criminality efficiently while leveraging Microsoft’s technology tools.

Osinbajo: “This pillar will also serve a vital social function by using Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence technology and resources to preserve and promote our major languages so we can revitalise these important aspects of our culture.

“Our focus is, of course, the Nigerian people. With over 80 million regular internet users, there is no question that Nigerians have fully embraced technology, the internet and their various uses.”

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