Just as global technology giants including Google Inc., HUAWEI, and top social networking company, Facebook, another international tech heavyweight, Microsoft Corporation, has disclosed plans to partner with the Federal Government for the benefit of the Nigerian people, especially young people.
Specifically, Microsoft is now offering support for the Digital Transformation pillar of the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan. This will be a continuation of the technology company’s investment in Nigeria after the establishment of an African Technology Development Centre in 2020, all in affirmation of the efforts of the Buhari administration in the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in Nigeria.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday noted in a virtual meeting with Microsoft Corporation team led by its President, Brad Smith that the company’s interest in supporting the efforts of the Federal Government is a welcome development and could be leveraged to address issues affecting the youths especially in engaging them productively.
While Google Inc. in July 2020 announced plans to establish its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos, Facebook, in September of same year made public its decision to open an office in Lagos as part of its planned expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa. HUAWEI on the other hand last November promised the Vice President that the company will position Nigeria as a technology center for the African continent.
Speaking on the need to constantly engage with the youths, the Vice President noted that Nigeria’s case is peculiar given that the youths constitute a larger percentage of the country’s population hence the need for all stakeholders to pay more attention to that demography.
His words: “It seems to me that there is just a wave of general anger around the world and people are generally impatient. Impatient with government, impatient with practically all of the formal structures there are.
“But I am open and happy to hear what views there might be on trying to engage and engage even more with young people (and in our case, that is 70% of our population, if not more). So, we are really talking not just about the youth population but the Nigerian populace because that is the majority. So, whatever it is that we are able to deploy to be more inclusive, to engage, even more, is really a solution for the entire populace as opposed to a solution for just a segment of our population especially given the fact that young people constitute 70% or even more.”
On his part, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, said the Federal Government has already put in place the necessary structures to partner with Microsoft and other tech companies in developing Nigeria’s technology ecosystem.
He said the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy, the National Policy on E-governance, among others, have been adopted by the Buhari administration to support the growth of technology and innovation in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Smith, noted that his company’s vision for investment in Nigeria was one that would lead to the creation of Africa’s most viable technology ecosystem.
Mr Smith said the company’s investment in Nigeria is a demonstration of its enthusiasm about the digital transformation ongoing in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
He proposed a 90-day timeline for stakeholders on the government side and from Microsoft, to iron out details of the various areas of collaboration.
Other participants at the meeting include the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; Microsoft Corporation’s Country Manager for Nigeria and Ghana, Mr Akin Banuso, among others.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
8th January 2021
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