Federal Government is partnering with tech giant, Microsoft to accelerate Nigeria’s advance towards a more digital economy in line with the Economic Sustainability Plan.
According to a dual announcement in a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Laolu Akande, no less than five million Nigerians would benefit from a digital up skilling programmes, and locations in each of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria will also enjoy active internet connection and cloud services courtesy of this digital transformation plan.
He said the partnership with Microsoft Corporation anchored on connectivity, skilling and digital transformation, and followed discussions between both parties led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and Microsoft President, Brad Smith earlier in the year.
For instance in January this year, he recalled that Osinbajo had a virtual meeting with the Microsoft President, where discussions covered areas of intersection between technology and governance to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.
“Our government is committed to leveraging innovation and technology to bring better outcomes across a wide area of governance concerns. 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,” Osinbajo said.
According to the VP, “this launch is indicative of our commitment to this and will involve collaboration with various Government agencies as implementing partners, including 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.
“Working with Microsoft, we intend to upskill 5 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”.
Continuing, the VP said, “Leveraging Microsoft’s Technology tools which can be deployed to minimise governance risks and block loopholes, working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), we will seek to use cutting edge analytical and case management tools to plug holes in our public sector system as well as confront white-collar criminality efficiently”.
“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 revitalize 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,” the vice president added.
On his part, the Microsoft President expressed optimism working with Nigeria to advance the digital economy. He said, “we believe in the future of Nigeria and we are excited as a company to add to our investments. It is a country we have had the opportunity to get to know better over the last few years”.