The Nigerian government and Microsoft have detailed several projects aimed at empowering the nation’s movement towards a more digital economy.
Microsoft announced Monday that, after in-depth consultation with the government, it has identified three main pillars that will help lay a solid foundation for Nigeria’s digital economy: connectivity, skills and digital transformation.
“We believe in Nigeria’s future and we look forward to increasing our investment as a company,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “Together, we have a great opportunity to harness technology, create jobs, nurture the technology ecosystem in Nigeria, and use technology to preserve the best of the past and guide us into the future.”
Microsoft plans to launch its Airband initiative, which has successfully provided high-speed Internet connections to underserved communities around the world, using unused frequencies in white TV rooms. This technology is cheaper and faster to use than fiber, and has the added benefit of being able to travel long distances and in wooded terrain.
The software company said that after talks with the Federal Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy and its local partners, the country’s six regions are destined to develop high-speed internet infrastructure.
The Microsoft Airband team will work closely with local partners to improve broadband connectivity in these communities while helping to design and deliver a very large cloud service.
The company is committed to upgrading the skills of 5 million people in Nigeria over the next three years. To achieve this goal, 1,700 trainers offer mixed online and face-to-face training for young people in the country as well as for civil servants.
“The government will also receive the tools to digitally transform skills, education and employment practices to suit job seekers with suitable employers. As such, we hope to create more than 27,000 new digital jobs over the next three years,” said Smith. .
“Our goal is to bring digital skills to five million people in Nigeria over the next three years,” said Smith. “But we can’t do this alone. We will train the main coaches and with them create thousands of new jobs.”