THE Federal Government has said that not less than five million Nigerians will benefit from a digital upskilling programme being made possible by a partnership arrangement with the Microsoft Corporation.
Also, locations in each of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria would enjoy active internet connection and cloud services courtesy of this digital transformation plan.
The partnership with Microsoft Corporation anchored on connectivity, skilling and digital transformation followed discussions between both parties, led by the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and Microsoft President, Brad Smith, earlier in the year.
This was contained in a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, on Monday in Abuja.
The statement said that the Buhari administration was partnering with the tech giant to accelerate Nigeria’s certain advance towards a more digital economy in line with the Economic Sustainability Plan.
For instance in January this year, the Vice President had a virtual meeting with the Microsoft Corporation President, Mr Brad Smith, where discussions covered areas of intersection between technology and governance to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.
Speaking in a formal video announcement of the partnership with the tech giant, Prof. Osinbajo said “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.”
According to him, “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.”
On the core areas of the partnership, Prof. Osinbajo said “this partnership will focus on two pillars: Connectivity & Skilling, and Digital Transformation.”
He said “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.
“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”, he said.
Using digital tools under the project, the Vice President said “we will pioneer innovative approaches in the fight against corruption, a major priority of this administration.”
Continuing, the Vice President 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.