The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a multinational IT firm, International Business Machines (IBM) West Africa, for partnership in the area of digital skills development for startups in the country. Ahead of a training programme scheduled for next month, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, recently signed the MoU on behalf of the Federal Government, while stressing that entrepreneurship and digitalisation for startups is at the heart of the incumbent administration.
Daily Sun gathered that the MoU provides a platform for empowering Nigerian youths with digital literacy and skills, to enable innovation, design and development of indigenous solutions, self-sufficiency and make Nigeria a hub for critical skills in Africa and the world at large. “The partnership which gives impetus to the digital, innovation and entrepreneurship skills of the economic development plan of President Muhammadu Buhari is a quantum leap in the digital economy strategy of the Ministry,” he said.
Under the partnership, and in line with the Digital Literacy initiative and drive of the Ministry, Pantami explained that IBM will, through its Digital Nation Africa Initiative, provide free training to Nigerians for a period of 12 to 16 weeks, in diverse areas of information technology.
He urged institutions of learning to give priority to skills, especially digital skills over paper qualifications saying that “digital skills are more relevant in today’s world of emerging technologies, therefore we must encourage innovation and drive digital literacy and skills among the populace”. In his remarks, the Country General Manager, IBM, Dipo Faulkner, stated that “IBM works with governments and key ministries to address the societal impact of digital technology, leveraging our investment in education with platforms such as IBM Digital Nation Africa. This new collaboration furthers our aims of scaling digital job skills across Africa.”