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Microsoft to equip five million Nigerians with IT skills

Ebuka Daniel

Microsoft Corporation  has entered into partnership with the Federal Government to accelerate digital transformation in Nigeria.

The collaboration between Nigeria and Microsoft would enable the Corporation equip about five million Nigerians with digital information technology skills over the next three years.

The partnership was announced in a joint statement posted by the United States based tech firm and the FG on Monday.

This was the outcome of the discussions Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, held in January 2021 with the Microsoft Corporation President, Brad Smith.

The statement said, “After extensive consultations with the government, Microsoft identified three key pillars that will help to build strong foundations for a digital economy in Nigeria: connectivity, skilling and digital transformation.

“We believe in the future of Nigeria, and we are excited as a company to add to our investments.

“Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, to foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to use technology to preserve the best of the past and take us into the future.”

The company said, after discussions with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and local partners, six regions in the country have been earmarked for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure.

Microsoft said its Airband team would work closely with local partners to improve broadband connectivity in the selected communities.

The company said, “Microsoft is committing to upskilling five million people in Nigeria over the next three years. To help reach this goal, 1,700 trainers will provide blended online and in-person training courses to the country’s youth as well as government workers.

“Government will also be given the tools to digitally transform skilling, education, and employment methods to match job seekers with the right employers.

“In doing so, we hope to create over 27,000 new digital jobs in the next three years.”

Microsoft revealed that the final pillar which is on digital transformation, would initially be made up of two initiatives.

It said the first would address corruption, adding that it would partner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in this regard.

“The second initiative will help protect Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, as Microsoft will look to deploy artificial intelligence tools to safeguard these treasures for future generations,” the company added.

Reacting to the partnership, Osinbajo said, “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.

“Microsoft’s extensive experience in the utilization of technology as an enabler for the delivery of public and social good makes them an ideal partner.”

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