Targets 400,000 youths for ICT training
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
In recognition of the role of innovation and technology in national economic growth, the federal government has said it will establish technology hubs across the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the flag off ceremony of Google Digital Training for Youth Empowerment with the theme “Diversifying Nigerian Economy: enabling youths through digital skills training”.
He also announced that 400,000 youths would also be trained in partnership with Google.
According to him, in partnership with several major technology companies, two super hubs will be established in Lagos and Abuja and six regional hubs in the six geo-political zones.
He said the hubs would be fully resourced with infrastructure and capacity building tools.
He said: “Each hub will be designed to produce relevant innovative technology, solutions to a wide range of business, commercial and government problems. For example, alternative energy solutions, creative technology, public services delivery in health, education and government processes, import substitution etc.
“Several major technology companies are partnering with us in the provision of infrastructure and opportunity in the hubs.
Also starting this year, we have budgeted for the training of 65,000 young Nigerians in hardware and soft ware services and more sophisticated software hardware such as animation. This would mean that we would be building more local capacity to build, assemble hardware and to write innovative programmes.
“We will also be focusing on technology for media and entertainment.
“We intend to create a reservoir of human capacity in technology that can be exported internationally.”
Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, said Nigeria could lead India as a market for technology and innovation talent.
According to him, the present administration has launched a special initiative on innovative technology and start ups and presentation of prospective participants have already been done in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
“This Friday (September 2nd), 30 of the best start up ideas will be exhibiting their in ovations at the Presidential villa at the first annual Aso Villa Demo Day.
“The 30 winners will participate in an innovation growth camp for two days, (Thursday and Friday),” he added.
He said this was why Google offered in collaboration with the federal government, to train 400,000 young people, describing it as “a monumental contribution to the national plan and in particular to economic development.”
Osinbajo said: “Everyone of the 400,000 young men and women to be trained is a potential creator of facebook, Uber, Jobberman, Iroko Tv or something that we haven’t even imagined yet.”
He advised Nigerian youths to acquire multiple skills for self-employment and economic empowerment adding that opportunities abound for professionals with multi-skills to excel in the period of economic hardship and joblessness?
“The exciting prospect of this training is that it unleashes the creativity and innovation and the boundless imaginative of the most productive segment of our society, the youth.
He said: “For any student today I think that we must appreciate that this is the age of multi tasking.
“You cannot just be an economist, an accountant, a lawyer or a graduate of international relations, or mass communication or performing arts and just remain that way.
“Multi skilling is crucial today, multi tasking is the order of the day.
You can’t just be one thing. You must learn to be a man of affairs, a versatile operator not a mono skill graduate.
“There are many opportunities and practically anything can be learned online today and whatever you chose to do, be technology savvy and understand its best uses in your chosen discipline.”
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said that ICT programme of the Buhari administration was to stimulate change adding that to sustain innovation required continuous investments.
Shittu said his ministry would collaborate with the ministry of education to promote ICT education in the country.
Also the Minister of Employment, Chris Ngige and his Youth and Sports counterpart, Solomon Dalung, pledged to put their ministries infrastructure available to Google to ensure quality digital training.
The Google Country Manager, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, described Nigerian youths as very enterprising and resourceful.
She told the participants to take the training seriously and use the knowledge to improve themselves and the economy of the country.