President of Microsoft, Brad Smith has said that part of the recent partnership it entered into with the Federal Government of Nigeria is to help the country build a strong foundation for a digital economy, connectivity, skill and digital transformation.
Smith said: “Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to use technology to preserve the best of the past and take us into the future.”
According to him, Research points to internet penetration in Nigeria of around 50 per cent and while the pandemic has increased the pace of digitisation, much needs to be done to empower all citizens to take advantage of the opportunities of a digital economy.
“Microsoft’s Airband Initiative has succeeded in bringing high-speed internet connectivity to underserved communities around the world, tapping into the unused broadcasting frequencies of television white spaces.
“The technology is cheaper and faster to deploy than fibre and has the added benefit of being able to travel long distances and through forested terrain.
“Following discussions with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and local partners, six regions in the country have been earmarked for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure.
“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.”
He further said: “Technological infrastructure alone is not enough to ensure sustainable digital transformation, so Microsoft is committing to upskilling five million people in Nigeria over the next three years.
“To help reach this goal, 1,700 trainers will provide blended online and in-person training courses to the country’s youth as well as government workers.
“Government will also be given the tools to digitally transform skilling, education, and employment methods to match job seekers with the right employers. In doing so, we hope to create over 27,000 new digital jobs in the next three years.
“We are setting ourselves a big goal, to bring access to digital skills to five million people in Nigeria over the next three years.”
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