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Microsoft’s new partnership with the Nigerian government aims to upskill 5 million Nigerians

The Nigerian Federal Government recently announced a partnership with tech giant Microsoft to accelerate the country’s digital economy. This announcement follows a discussion that took place in January between Nigeria’s vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo and Microsoft’s Corporation President, Brad Smith.

The collaboration is in line with Nigeria’s economic sustainable plan to grow the economy. It will foster job opportunities and upskill up to five million people in Nigeria, creating over 27,000 new digital jobs in the next three years.

In a statement by Microsoft, they are setting a “big goal to bring access to digital skills to five million people in Nigeria over the next three years. But this is not something we can do by ourselves. We will equip master trainers and, along with them, are committed to creating thousands of new jobs.” 

“Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, to foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to use technology to preserve the best of the past and take us into the future.”

As seen on Microsoft’s website, each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones will have access to high-speed internet infrastructure courtesy of the digital transformation plan. 

“Microsoft’s Airband team will work closely with local partners to improve broadband connectivity in these communities while also assisting with the design and implementation of hyper-scale cloud services.” 

On their end, the Nigerian presidency believes that Microsoft’s extensive experience with using technology as an enabler for public and social good makes them an ideal partner.

This collaboration will focus on three major areas of development. Connectivity, skilling and digital transformation. Microsoft says after extensive consultation with the Nigerian government, they identified these three areas as key pillars to building strong foundations for a digital economy in Nigeria. 

In 2019, Microsoft partnered with IT firm Tek Experts, to create a Customer Support Centre in Lagos. The centre, according to them, employs over 1,600 people. This new digital initiative is another opportunity the tech company has to broaden their investment even more in Nigeria. 

Brad Smith said in a tweet that the company believes in the future of Nigeria and that they are excited about this partnership. 

The initiative will also help protect Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Microsoft will deploy artificial intelligence tools to protect Nigeria’s cultural treasures for generations to come. They will do this alongside the  National Institute of Cultural Orientation to revive and preserve the country’s three major indigenous languages: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo.

“This is one of my favourite projects that we pursue around the world. It uses the most advanced technology of the 21st century to nurture and keep alive the culture that has been so important for humanity from the centuries past,” Brad says.

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