A Nigerian government official on Monday announced a plan to raise three million Nigerians with technical talents by 2027.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, disclosed the plan in the ministry’s 31-page Strategic Blueprint document titled: ‘Accelerating our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency’, released on Monday.
Mr Tijani said the ministry’s commitment to talent development is unwavering.
“We have set an ambitious goal to train three (3) million early to mid-career technical talents over the next four years,” Mr Tijani said.
He said these trainings will cover tech-enabled and tech-adjacent skills, core tech competencies and advanced proficiencies.
“This holistic approach is designed to empower our workforce to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape. Ultimately, our strategic intent is to retain at least 1.5 million of these skilled professionals within our local talent pool and facilitate opportunities for another 1.5 million of our talented individuals to excel in the global talent marketplace, preferably through remote opportunities.
“Our strategic imperative is to position Nigeria in the top 25 per cent percentile in research globally across six pivotal Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technological domains, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Blockchain and Additive Manufacturing,” he said.
He explained that the ministry is focused on building an environment that nurtures research and expertise in the above-mentioned technological areas, through intentional programmes.
By leveraging the power of these technologies, he said “We aim to accelerate Nigeria’s position as a recognisable player in the global technology ecosystem, thereby contributing to the growth and competitiveness of our economy.”
“Our mission to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030 is a critical pillar in our vision for a digitally inclusive nation. As an important component of our blueprint, we are committed to making substantial strides toward this goal over the next four years,” he added.
He said the ministry plans to achieve 70 per cent of this target by 2027, thus representing a major milestone in its path towards an inclusive and digitally empowered nation.
“This agenda will adopt a multifaceted approach, including a robust educational programme, improved digital infrastructure and universal access to digital resources.
“This goal will not only foster the growth of our citizens but create the bedrock for a thriving economy.
“Work with stakeholders to train three million technical talents and prioritise job placement by the end of 2027 and increase the level of digital literacy of the population to 70 per cent by end of 2027,” he said.
The minister said in the rapidly interconnected world, knowledge is the foundation upon which countries build a robust and sustainable economy.
“As a critical prerequisite, knowledge influences how we generate innovations and technologies that drive economic growth, expand the talent pool to drive competitiveness, improve productivity and inform evidence-based policymaking, amongst others.
“As a Ministry, our mandate of contributing to the diversification of the Nigerian economy through enhanced technical efficiency facilitated by technological innovation rests on the effective application of knowledge.
“To this end, knowledge forms the critical foundation of our strategic blueprint for the next 4 years,” he said.
He noted that this pillar reflects three key objectives which together will accelerate the growth of Nigeria as a global technical talent hub and net exporter of talent.
“Deepen and accelerate our position in global research in key technology areas and raise the complexity and dynamics of our economy by significantly increasing the level of digital literacy across Nigeria.”
Mr Tijani also said artificial intelligence will usher in a new era of technological and economic transformation over the next two decades.
“As an emerging economy, it is imperative that we formulate a far-reaching national strategy to harness the potential of AI in an inclusive and responsible manner. To that effect, we are taking a unique approach to provide the expertise and perspectives needed to craft a forward-looking strategy.”
He added that the implementation of the strategy amongst other things is expected to elevate Nigeria as a top 10 location for AI model training and talents globally.
“In addition, we will position Nigeria as a global leader in accelerating inclusivity in AI datasets.”
Mr Tijani said the plan is also to achieve top 50 global rankings (currently 96) in AI readiness and adoption across metrics (Computing Power, Skills, Data Availability, Ethics and Governance) by 2030 and create over 50,000 jobs in Nigeria’s AI industry by 2030.
He explained that data has become a critical input for value creation and economic transformation in today’s digital world.
However, he said the exchange of vast volumes of data within the data economy value chain presents risks of data misuse and breaches.
“We will drive the review and implementation of the Nigeria Open Data Policy, which provides for free public access to non-sensitive public-sector data to drive innovation, improve citizen engagement and access to public services, enable value creation and unlock economic value.
“We will prioritise ‘data for good’ practices and champion ‘privacy by design’ approaches while providing oversight for implementation and governance,” he said.
He said the ministry will provide leadership and implementation of a roadmap for the digitisation of at least 60 per cent of relevant government data by the end of 2026 and deliver an open data platform that provides access to digitised, anonymized federal government or federal government-regulated data by the end of 2026.
Mr Tijani noted that President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda has at its core, a recognition of the power of technology and innovation as enablers of economic growth and development.
“It is a call for us to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us with a spirit of determination and conviction,” he added.
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