The current state of human development in Nigeria’s digital economy was the front burner of the panel discussion held at the 2023 Digital Nigeria International Conference in Abuja where stakeholders in the public and private sectors gathered to discuss the theme – “Harnessing Digital Technologies for Job Creation, Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainability.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s human capital challenges, Ruby Igwe, ALX Nigeria‘s Country General Manager said, “There is so much to do, but rather than see the current situation as a challenge, it should be viewed as an opportunity. At ALX we have been able to identify that though we need quality education, we must be able to ensure that our talents across Nigeria are not just employed but employable; this either by enabling them to get jobs or helping them to think entrepreneurially. Consequently, entrepreneurs contribute to the growth of the digital economy by employing more people.”
She added that training over three million youths is expensive and that public-private partnerships are crucial to achieving technological development.
She alluded to the work ALX has been doing across the continent.
“What we have been doing is to develop a plan to have technological skills delivered to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and Africans at a very affordable cost and that has helped us to continue to grow and we are on our way to training millions of talents to secure jobs and establish entrepreneurial ventures that will change the face of this country.
“ALX is a digital accelerator. We are part of a group that has been educating and raising young leaders in technology for over two decades. We are so excited about this summit and the possibilities created by the vision of the honourable minister, Dr Bosun Tijani, to raise 3 million talents. This is in line with our mission to raise 3 million talents across Africa who are techno-fluent, entrepreneurial, and ethical,” she added.
Another panellist, Jimi Dauodu, COO Vaulthill called on private sectors to partner with the government to improve access to internet use in Nigeria. He noted that despite Nigeria’s young population, over 26 per cent live in rural areas and have no access to digital literacy. He lauded the efforts made by my government while calling on national and international private companies to double on contributions towards technology education in Nigeria.
The panel which was a part of the 3-day conference focused on Empowering Human Capital in the Digital Economy: Leveraging Technology for Skill Acquisition was moderated by Ada Nduka Oyom, CEO of She Code Africa. Other speakers were: AyoOluwa Nihinlola, CEO of Ulesson; Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Regional Head of Brand and Reputation Google; Rachael Onoja, Co-founder, Alt School Africa; and Abdulaziz Kabir, CEO 4U Academy.
In his welcome address to participants, Kashifu Abdullahi, the Director General of, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), stated that the technology ministry is adopting a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research framework to determine how to collaborate with the private sector.
“Our major strategy is resetting our mindset and what I mean by resetting mindset is that we need to remove the dichotomy or demarcation between the government and private sector,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi also referenced how the current minister of digital technology, Bosun Tijani, comes from the private sector. “In an ecosystem, we need to have collective ownership,” he said.
While addressing the issue of human capital deficiency and job creation, the NITDA boss called on employers to shop in Nigeria for the best hands. In his words: “We will make the environment enabling for you and beneficial. It is going to be a win-win situation. Globally there is a hunt for talent, and in Nigeria, we have the talent, so come, and harness the talents to build your company.”
He said the abundant talents of the Nigerian youths in the digital space means they can compete favourably with other countries of the world. He concluded that the theme for the 2023 conference was chosen to promote the employability of millions of young people in the country’s evolving digital economy.
Nigeria’s new Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, provided the spark to light up the conference when he said Nigeria remains Africa’s top destination for technology investment. He attributed the feat to “progressives,” describing them as those “who have taken it upon themselves” to get Nigeria to participate in the global economy.”
On the role of policy frameworks for the growth of the digital economy, the minister said, “As we use policies to encourage entrepreneurs, we are helping the country capture value by driving more local domiciliation of our start-ups.”
The well-attended conference hosted remarkable guest speakers and panellists from across different aspects of the technology sector. Notable among them were: Funke Opeke, the managing director, of Main One Technologies, and Bilial Al-Rais, the Vice President of Technology and Digital Cluster, at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The 2023 Digital Nigeria International Conference, held from 24 to 26 October, provided a platform for valuable discussions and collaborations aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s digital economy and enhancing human capital development in the digital age.
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