By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha
Abubakar, Tuesday said the ministry in partnership with Google, has
commenced training of 1,000 youths on digital skills in order to
improve their businesses in Sokoto State.
Speaking at the launch of the Google Digital Skills Community at the
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Abubakar said the Community Digital Skills programme would be replicated in the other 35 states of the federation.
She explained that the plan was to reach out to 500,000 Nigerians in
the next 12 months and to triple that number over the next five years.
She stated that this would be achieved working together with
parastatals under the ministry such as Small and Medium Enterprises
Development Agency of Nigeria, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Bank of Industry (BoI), among others.
The minister said the exercise was aimed at improving employability
of job seekers and the growth of small enterprises, who are keen to
join the digital world by improving their skills.
“We know that for any enterprise to become relevant and competitive in this age of digital disruption, our entrepreneurs have to be equipped
with modern digital skills.
“Digital skills that can teach one to build an online presence,
marketing, hiring the right talent, such as Google My Business are
very pertinent to the growth and sustainability of any business.
“This is why this partnership with Google aims to create the right
technological platform for Nigerian medium and small enterprises to
thrive and prosper by building a web presence through digital
innovation,” she said.
Abubakar noted that starting and growing enterprises without adequate training and hand-holding were factors that mitigate the growth of enterprises in Africa.
She stated that over 50 million Nigerians are connected to the web via
mobile devices but they still lack the basic digital skills to accomplish critical tasks of promoting their enterprises.
The minister posited that having the requisite skills to start, grow and stay in business was key to developing a sustainable enterprise.
According to her, providing a favourable environment for enterprises
to thrive is a key strategy in developing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria.
She therefore, urged Google to include Sokoto State amongst the states that will enjoy the Free WIFI Hotspots recently announced.
The minister, to this end, enjoined the participants to pay adequate
attention so as to realise the full benefits of the skills and
“We have developed a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to
support its implementation towards digital innovation and job
creation,” she stated.
She expressed the commitment of the federal government towards the attainment of the set objectives.
In a remark, the Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said the programme offers trainings to help individuals and communities develop and grow digital skills, find jobs and advance in their careers.
She further explained that the initiative provides free courses, tools, and in-person digital training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses.
Chiazor stated that in 2016, Google showed its commitment in training one million young Africans on digital skills in one year, adding that in 2017, that commitment was further extended to 10 million Africans in five years.
“Last year, we announced plans to help more people in Africa prepare
for jobs of the future through our local community-focused Digital
Skills Training programmes. Through these grassroots programmes, we will be helping local communities in Africa take advantage of our 10 million digital skills training initiative to grow, and to improve their knowledge of digital tools.
“The launch of this community-focused trainings is aimed at helping
more people in Nigeria acquire the skills they need to leverage online
tools for growth and to give them access to better employment and the skills to start their own businesses.
”Google’s investment in digital skills will support government’s efforts to enable Nigerians to gain employment by equipping them with the skills needed by today’s online, connected organisations.
“We have had hundreds of success stories from across Africa and we are looking forward to seeing more from right here in Sokoto and other communities. I believe that a year from now, we will have businesses here in Sokoto that will expand globally as a result of this
training,” she added.
Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, commended the minister and Google for the initiative aimed at empowering youths through acquisition of digital skills to improve their businesses.