Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that Nigeria is to partner with tech giant, Microsoft Corporation, to accelerate the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) on a deepened digital economy.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Monday, May 3, in Abuja, said that the vice president said this at the virtual formalisation of the partnership.
The vice president said the partnership would leverage Microsoft’s experience in the utilisation of technology as an enabler for the delivery of public and social good.
Under the partnership, no fewer than 5 million Nigerians would benefit from a digital upskilling programme.
The partnership, anchored on connectivity, skilling and digital transformation, was a sequel to discussions between both parties led by the vice president.
Osinbajo, in January, 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.
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.
“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 would bridge the knowledge, skills and technology gap that exist in most of our communities.
“This launch is indicative of our commitment and will involve collaboration with various Government agencies as implementing partners.
“These include 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; as well as various other local partners.
“We intend that these initiatives become institutions in their own rights; and also make a real impact in the lives of our citizens going forward.”
Osinbajo said that the partnership would focus on two pillars– Connectivity and Skilling, as well as Digital Transformation.
He said there were plans to connect under-served communities in each of the six geo-political zones; with access to internet and cloud services.
The vice president said that the project was a critical component of expanding broadband connectivity; which was by itself, a major pillar of the ESP 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 as well as urban areas to many young people; and will help us deal with unemployment problems, made worse by the pandemic.
“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.
“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,’’ he said.