Microsoft Corporation President, Brad Smith

To bridge knowledge, skills and technology gap existing in most of it communities, and deepened its digital economy objectives, Nigeria and Microsoft has announced a partnership expected to upskill 5million Nigerians in various digital skills, aimed in increasing both employability and entrepreneurship.

Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo, in a virtual meeting with Microsoft Corporation President, Mr. Brad Smith, said the government is committed to leveraging innovation and technology to bring better outcomes across a wide area of governance concerns. 

He 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. 

“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. 

According to him the partnership will focus on two pillars: Connectivity and Skilling, and Digital Transformation to bridge the knowledge skills and technology gap that exist in communities.

About Connectivity and skilling 

Prof Osinbanjo explained the project aimed to connect underserved communities in each of the 6 geo-political zones access to internet and cloud services, adding that project was a critical component which by itself is a major pillar of Economic Sustainability Plan in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Expanded broadband connectivity will help to deliver content in online education, electronic healthcare delivery, financial and other services in the communities. “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. 

About Digital Transformation

The Vice President said major priority of the administration is to pioneer innovative approach in the fight against corruption. “Leveraging Microsoft’s technology tools which can be deployed to minimize 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. 

Adding that the pillar will serve a vital social function by using Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence technology and resources to preserve and promote the major languages to revitalize the important aspects of 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.  But there is still so much to be achieved; we want to bridge gaps, strengthen connections and ensure that no one is left behind.”

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