Pic: Hon. Minister Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has been in the eye of a raging storm for expressing sympathy with Islamic extremist and their cause. The Minister appears undeterred in delivering on his mandate to expand and transform the Nigerian technology and communications landscape. The Nigerian government and tech giant Microsoft announced a partnership to collaborate on ways to advance the country’s new digital economy sector.
In a press release today on Microsoft, the Vice President of Microsoft Mr. Brad Smith says that in the course of their consultations with their Nigerian counterparts, they identified 3 pillars which will be the guide for this strategic collaboration in Nigeria. It includes connectivity, skilling and digital transformation.
To execute this plan the country is divided into six regions to facilitate the development of high speed internet infrastructure with a special focus on “underserved communities”. It will also include “implementing hyper – scale cloud services”.
With this infrastructure the next goal is to train 5 million Nigerians within 3 years. To achieve this, the company will provide 1,700 trainers who will be available to provide virtual and classroom courses for the youth and government workers. The goal according to Smith is to give government the “tools to digitally transform skilling, education, and employment methods to match job seekers with the right employers”. The target is to create 27,000 new jobs for Nigeria.
While digital transformation which is the last pillar in the strategic collaboration will be divided in 2 sub units. First, it will help fight corruption. While the second, is to help Nigeria preserve our rich cultural heritage.
The Buhari led administration seeks to utilize this partnership to deepen its fight against corruption. Microsoft will collaborate with local partners to design and build cloud based tools and work with EFCC to apply latest technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning which will be deployed to expose potential risks in the economy
In the second part of this digital transformation plan, Microsoft will be partnering with the “newly formed National Institute of Cultural Orientation”. What the tech giant will be doing is to “nurture and keep alive [Nigerian] culture by preserving our language”. It will focus primarily on Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages.