The federal government has announced its partnership with Microsoft Corporation ompany to embark on a series of broad-based multi-faceted undertakings to adequately enable Nigeria in a more digital economy in the areas of internet connectivity, digital skilling, and digital transformation as a major pillar of Economic Sustainability Plan in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership followed the virtual meeting between the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Microsoft President, Brad Smith, earlier in January 2021.
These were made known in a statement by Laolu Akande, the spokesperson to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
According to a twofold announcement made by the government and the tech company on Monday, the Vice President Osinbajo stated that the partnership in the next three years intends to give rise to opportunities to many young people in the rural and urban areas as an invention strategy in the battle against crime, adding that the partnership will equip digital skills to five million Nigerians and also provide 27, 000 new jobs within the same duration.
The Vice President also stated to collaborate 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.
Also, he said the partnership will serve as a social function to maintain and stimulate prominent languages and to breathe life into the culture by making use of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence technologies and aids
The Vice President also stated that it will enable the six geopolitical zones to enjoy active internet connection and cloud services courtesy of the digital transformation plan.
Professor Osinbajo, while speaking with the tech giant, stated that the government was committed to bridging the knowledge, skills, and technology gap that exist in most of the communities.
Prof. Osinbajo explained that the government’s focus is on the Nigerian people, stating that with over 80 million regular internet users, there is no question that Nigerians have fully embraced technology, the internet, and their various uses.
He stated that these initiatives become institutions in their rights that will make a real impact in the lives of the citizens.
In response, Brad Smith explained that Microsoft believed in the future of Nigeria and was excited as a company to add to its investments.
Explaining the partnership with the Federal Government, Smith also stated “We are embarking on a series of broad-based, really multifaceted investments to better serve Nigeria in three areas of internet connectivity, digital skilling, and digital transformation.
“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.”
He explained that the company partnered with Tek experts to create a Customer Support Centre – a center in Lagos that employed over 1,600 people in 2018.
Furthermore, the tech company chief explained that they had another opportunity to broaden their investment even more by creating the African Development Centre.
The center, according to him, will employ over 200 software developers and engineers by the end of 2021 – people who are creating technology and Microsoft products to serve not only the people of Nigeria but the people of the world.
He said, “All of these is giving us the kind of confidence to want to invest even more, and one of the things that we have recognized as a company is the need to grow with communities and countries and not just buying for ourselves.”
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