Nigerian youths have been encouraged to embrace technology for development and maximise the opportunities it provides to reduce the rate of unemployment.
This was revealed by the director of partnerships and sustainability and co-partner, TECH4DEV, Joel Ogunsola, while addressing the press at the grand finale of the #DigitalForAllChallenge in Abuja recently.
According to him, the #DigitalForAllChallenge is a free digital skilling program and competition designed to drive youth digital literacy across Nigeria and spur interest in acquiring digital skills and certifications via onsite and online platforms.
He said the competition aims to equip men and women between the ages of 16 and 45 years with digital skills to enable equal access to technology-centric economic opportunities. The initiative is a sub-programme under Microsoft’s Emerging Market Model Initiative (EMMI), implemented in Nigeria by TECH4DEV.
“The Emerging Market Model Initiative (EMMI) is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder private-public-non-profit partnership designed to build the capacity of key government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to offer sustainable, scalable reskilling and employment services aligned to the local labour markets.
“The objective of the EMMI model through the various programmes under it is to train 36,000 youths over one year through a blended learning approach; online and physical through skill training and youth centres across Nigeria. We are achieving these objectives through multi-year collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sport and state governments,” he said.
Ogunsola pointed out that 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population are between the ages of 16 and 45 and highlighted technology as one of the key ways to drive economic growth, especially in job creation and foreign direct investment.
He said many countries have shown that solid investment in technology is a definite way of moving the country and economy forward and improving the lives of young people so that the unemployment rate which ranges from 30 to 35 per cent can reduce significantly.
Ogunsola added that the #DigitalForAll Challenge competition was categorised into basic and intermediate levels delivered over four months, followed by a month-long (state, regional and national) competition phase. Through the challenge, over 17,000 youths have been successfully upskilled.
“Over 17.000 people registered for the #DigitalForAllchallenge, 1,527 people moved to the state level competition, 87 participants moved to the regional level and 8 participants moved to the grand finale. The grand finale winner from the basic level, Mr Nelson Gidam, claimed the N1million prize. The grand finale winner from the intermediate level, Theresa Sunda, who studied data science, claimed the price of N2.5million, while other finalists went home with laptops, learning materials and other amazing prizes,” he stated.