The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Pantami, has said that 17,000 Nigerians have benefited so far in the #DigitalForAll programme.
Pantami said this on Friday in Abuja at the grand finale of the DigitalForAll Challenge organized by Tech4Dev in partnership with Microsoft.
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The minister represented by his Technical Adviser on Information Technology, Femi Adeluyi, urged the private sector to help the government in meeting its target of creating five million digital literates by 2030.
“It is difficult for governments alone to employ. So, it is encouraged to encourage local skills on digital development and to open the door for others to be ICT savvy. It is known that hard skills help you get a job; soft skills help you keep the job,” he said
Also speaking at the event, the Country Lead and Programme Adviser, UK Government’s Digital Access Programme, Idongesit Udoh, said that the UK plans to train hundreds of Nigerian civil servants in basic digital skills, and support state governments to develop a digital economy policy and strategy.
She said, “We have some pipelines activities including up-skill basic digital skills for civil servants, partnering with some specific States on that. More importantly on the policy and systematic framework, we are supporting some state governments to develop their own state-level digital economy policy and strategy, which is to help entrench digital development at the state level.”
The Director of Partnership and Sustainability of Tech4Dev, Mr. Joel Ogunsola, said that the organization’s vision is to equip Africans with digital and life skills that foster economic prosperity, financial freedom, and sustainable development.
“Over the last five years, we have reached over 10m people directly and indirectly across Africa through our program covering basic, intermediate, and advanced digital skills, and #Digitalforall is one of such programs.
“The #DigitalforAllChallenge is a free digital skill 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. It aims to equip men and women between the ages of 16-45 years with digital skills to enable equal access to technology-centric economic opportunities. It is a sub-program under Microsoft’s Emerging Market Model Initiative, implemented in Nigeria by Tech4Dev,” Ogunsola said.
He also said that out of over 17,000 people who registered for the #Digitalforallchallenge, 1,527 people moved to the state level competition, 87 participants moved to the regional level, and eight participants moved to the grand finale.
On her part, Co-Founder And Executive Director, TECH4DEV, Oladiwura Oladepo, said that the issue of digital illiteracy still remains a grave one.
She quoted an article by Africa in focus, which said that though sub-Saharan Africa has experienced an increase in education and literacy rates, the quality of the education remains below par.
She said, “Sub-Saharan Africa has, for example, the lowest literacy rate of any world region. Similarly, 84 percent of children and adolescents have not achieved the minimum proficiency for mathematics; for context, the global average is 56 percent. These significant gaps in education have labor market implications, and education experts fear that many Africans are not learning the skills they need for 21st-century jobs.”
The grand finale of the #Digitalforallchallenge winner from the intermediate level, Theresa Sunday, got N2.5m, the grand finale winner from the basic level, Nelson Didiam got N1m and the other six finalists went home with laptops.