The federal government has said it will utilize the opportunities provided by global organizations like Google to train the increasing technology savvy youths in various ICT capacity development fields of endeavours into entrepreneurs.
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu promised that the ministry will continue to support the establishment of companies or organizations in the areas of hardware and software development by ensuring that they are protected through requisite regulations.
He said that Nigeria as a nation has so much more to learn and gain from the digital revolution being championed by Google.
The Minister added that Google, being one of the tech giants in computing and the web, has been at the centre of this digital penetration, with the popularity of its open platforms, powering lots of smartphones with android and other digital tools.
“A lot has changed in Nigeria since the huge wave of Internet and mobile adoption globally. Today, access to smart phones and the web is growing. Indeed, there are about 149 million mobile subscribers and 97 million internet users, 76 percent of them can access the internet on their phones.
“The growth in adoption of these trends amongst Nigerians presents huge opportunities for businesses which is important for Government’s ambition on economic diversification. However, only a small number of Individuals and enterprises are currently taking full advantage of new digital opportunities available.
While commending the plan to train more Africans in digital skills in the coming year, the Minister disclosed that through critical partnerships and collaborations, support of Government and leveraging on Google’s strong community relationships, the goal to train one million people in Nigeria and Africa at large has reached its target.
Barrister Shittu pointed out that the web is a driver of economic growth, and is transforming society as a whole. Therefore People must be equipped through training and re-skilling to make use of the tools and take advantage of it for entrepreneurship, employment and e-inclusion.
He said there is no better time to collaborate with Google Nigeria and to harness the benefits of ICT than now when the Nigerian economy is in dire need of diversification, adding that ICT is strategic in driving productivity and efficiency in all sectors of the economy and that virtually all sectors leverage ICT for optimal performance.
The Minister acknowledged that it is only logical that Government is determined not only to create policies and incentives but also collaborate with global tech leaders like Google to ensure smart digital Nigeria initiative and to make technology more accessible and useful to drive more businesses and in turn, contribute to a richer and diversified economy.
He charged Google to go beyond the One million mark it set for Africa.
“Having over one million digitally skilled young people in Africa is not good enough, you can do more than that. If many young people have the right skills, they will build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.”
He expounds: “As government’s preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is predicted to happen globally in the very near future, the Federal Government had conceived a national ICT Park and Exhibition Centre in the Federal Capital Territory. The establishment of the Centre will encourage investments in the ICT sector and complement the ICT University which will also produce the required skilled manpower for the industry. “
The Minister further noted that taking into consideration the present administration’s stance on job creation, revenue generation and security, the government is determined to leverage ICT and open up the economy to foreign investors just as it did in the Telecom sector. “Despite coming up with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, we are determined to actualize the content of our very comprehensive ICT roadmap. This is imperative for the country’s highly import-dependent and consumption-driven economy. This administration has hinged the Economic Recovery Plans on ICTs as well as with fiscal and strategies policies,” he said.