An Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Akindayo Akindolani, has urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to scale the Code for Employment initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country to reduce unemployment.
Akindolani, the founder of MIT, made the call during a two-day summit organized by Afritex in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja.
He said since NITDA, for instance, has computer centres built in almost the 774 LGAs nationwide, the digital ambassadors trained by the AfDB through partnerships with Microsoft and the McAnderson Institute of Technology (MIT), could support more unemployed youth at the grassroots areas.
While noting that the move could help reduce the rising unemployment rate in the country, as the capacity building would prepare the beneficiaries for high-paying remote jobs in the digital space.
“NITDA can scale the project in all the 774 LGAs by empowering the Digital Ambassadors trained to continue the redeployment of the capacity building in their local governments,” he said.
“I am confident that code for employment is capable of reducing unemployment once we expose our youths to the required skills for future jobs. Once our people are rightly skilled with the in-demand-driven skills, then getting a job placement within and outside Nigeria would be an easy thing.”
Akindolani further advocated the need for the education ministry to infuse digital literacy and coding skills into the school curriculum.
According to him, the code for the employment programme is operational in Côte d’Ivoire with 75 participants, 100 beneficiaries from Kenya, about 150 from Nigeria, and 175 youth from Senegal.
The AfDB’s Code for Employment programme is a pilot project where 500 change makers, 45 percent of whom are women from four countries, were selected for the digital ambassadors’ programme.
The selected digital ambassadors embarked on a three-month course during which they were equipped with in-demand digital skills, such as software development. Also, soft skills, such as problem-solving, project management, and communication.
The beneficiaries are subsequently allowed to partake in a peer-to-peer training model that seeks to expand digital skills to more African youth, especially in rural communities with limited internet connectivity.