With the deceleration in economic growth over the years, it is evident that any serious effort at revamping the economy would involve doubling down on the processes to ensure a vast majority of Nigerians feel the impact of the positive changes being introduced.
This implies that the pace must be accelerated to move in geometric rather than arithmetic progression so as to make up for lost, while equally assuring the populace that the administration is on the right track to economic recovery.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on assuming office, has given the indication that he is out to renew the hope for a better Nigeria through various ways that include, revamping the economy; addressing infrastructural decay and confronting the challenges militating against enhanced standard of living for citizens.
Of interest here is the fact that the President promised the creation of 1.2 million digital jobs for the youths in the country.
This is apt because, with the advancement in communication technology and the epiphany in digital economy, the world has come to realise the vast opportunities that abound in the digital sector which are bound to boost overall productivity, grow the economy as well as take care of existing socio-economic dislocations in the country.
In Nigeria, the appreciation of data science and digital technology has quadrupled over the years serving as one of the key areas for driving socio-economic change in the country with vast impact on businesses and the general well-being of citizens.
With the now added impetus to the ministry for communications which now embraces innovation and digital economy, the administration of President Tinubu seems set to explore all the opportunities in the vast sector to achieve its aim of transforming the Nigerian economy while getting the citizens a better deal.
Fortunately, Vice President Kashim Shettima, who statutorily is the chairman of the National Economic Council, has shown that he not only understands this vision but is willing to drive it.
With the deep knowledge in private-sector-driven initiatives before coming into politics, Shettima took to reconstructing economic landscapes for the better.
He did that when he was governor of Borno State where, despite security challenges in the state, he introduced policies that encouraged commerce and industry and as a senator, when he chaired the Senate Committee on Interior.
Having identified the need to create job opportunities for the teeming number of youths in the country, the vice president launched the FG/ALAT Skill Innovation Programme.
This initiative is designed to benefit three million small and medium-scale enterprises and is bound to boost the Nigerian economy through the revitalisation of the private sector and the opening of massive job opportunities for the teeming number of youths.
The programmes are intended to provide over three million Nigerians with essential digital skills required to succeed in the global economy as well as extend the reach of economic and social interactions and enhance productivity growth in the country.
Details of the Skillnovation Programme indicate that under it, 15 state-of-the-art ICT centres would be established and strategically placed across Nigeria to provide individuals and businesses alike access to cutting-edge digital training, resources and support with the first phase taking off in Katsina, Anambra, Borno, Lagos, Oyo and Kano while the second phase will include Delta, Kaduna, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara and Ekiti.
The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprise (i-DICE) programme on the other hand, is a whopping $716.7 million project expected to kick off in November.
The vice president is complemented by the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, who, with an impressive background as a technological entrepreneur, has, within four months, brought transformative ideas to his ministry and introduced various programmes to enable the citizenry to feel the impact of the transformative drive of the Tinubu administration.
Consequently, one of the agencies under the ministry, NITDA, commenced the Three Million Technical Talent Programme (3MTT) designed to train, mentor and find job placements for three million youths in three years!
As this is being implemented, the ministry has come up with another programme to boost the AI ecosystem in Nigeria where at least 45 successful Al researchers would receive N5 million each with start-up packs to commence business.
The programme, according to its initiators, is carefully designed to support researchers and start-ups to accelerate their research and development efforts to foster a vibrant and sustainable Al ecosystem in Nigeria by providing financial support, facilitating knowledge sharing and collaboration among individuals and organisations in the Al industry.
With that, recondite fields in information technology advancement like Software Development; UI/UX Design; Data Analysis & Visualisation; Data Science; Animation; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning, Cybersecurity; Cloud Computing and others would be fully explored to bring out their potential on the economy.
These are all parts of the efforts of the government to deliver on the promise to create millions of jobs in the technology space and for Nigeria to be a leader globally in technology and creative ecosystem.
With these, President Tinubu administration’s aim of leveraging on the enthusiasm of youths in the technology space to launch Nigeria as a global power in the sector seems set to be realised sooner than expected as these initiatives when concluded, would address the crises associated with economic stagnation, youth unemployment and other social dislocations in the country.
Nakande is Special Assistant to the President in the office of the Vice President