Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday expressed optimistic that Nigeria can overtake India in the market for technology and innovation talent.
He made the remark during flag-off ceremony of Google Digital Training for Youth Empowerment at the State House, Abuja.
According to him, the administration will continue to explore creative ways at empowering Nigerian youth. "We intend to create a reservoir of human capacity in technology that can be exported internationally. Nigeria can lead India as a market for technology and innovation talent." he said.
“This year, we are establishing technology hubs across the country, two super hubs in Lagos and Abuja and six regional hubs in the six geo-political zones. In partnership with several major technology companies, the hubs will be fully resourced with infrastructure and capacity building tools.
“Each hub will be designed to produce relevant innovative technology, solutions to a wide range of business, commercial and government problems. For example, alternative energy solutions, creative technology, public services delivery in health, education and government processes, import substitution etc.
“Several major technology companies are partnering with us in the provision of infrastructure and opportunity in the hubs. Also starting this year, we have budgeted for the training of 65,000 young Nigeria s in hardware and software services and more sophisticated software hardware such as animation.
“This would mean that we would be building more local capacity to build, assemble hardware and to write innovative programmes. We will also be focusing on technology for media and entertainment,” he added.
While the empowerment initiative flagged off on Tuesday is targeting 400,000 Nigerian youth at a start, Osinbajo said that the government is determined to give every opportunity to younger generation to ensure they excel with the use of modern technology.
He said that a special initiative on innovative technology and start ups and presentation of prospective participants have already been done in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
“This Friday, 30 of the best start up ideas will be exhibiting their inovations at the Presidential villa at the first Annual Aso Villa Demo Day.
“The 30 winners will be arriving here in Abuja today and they will participate in an innovation growth camp for the next two day.
“And this is why what Google has offered to do in collaboration with the Federal Government, the Google training for youth employment, the training of 400,000 young people is a monumental contribution to the national plan and in particular to economic development.
“Everyone of the 400,000 young men and women to be trained is a potential creator of facebook, Uber, Jobberman, Iroko Tv or something that we haven’t even imagined yet. The exciting prospect of this training is that it unleashes the creativity and innovation and the boundless imaginative of the most productive segment of our society, the youth.
“For any student today I think that we must appreciate that this is the age of multi-tasking. You cannot just be an economist, an accountant, a lawyer or a graduate of international relations, or mass communication or performing arts and just remain that way. Multi skilling is crucial today, multi-tasking is the order of the day.
“You can’t just be one thing. You must learn to be a man of affairs, a versatile operator not a mono skill graduate,” he added.
To achieve this, he said that there are many opportunities as practically anything can be learned online today.
“All of these business reviews and business journals, many of them are free online.
Everyone has a right to be rich. age is not a barrier to great wealth as we have seen from all these example of great men and women who have done so many incredible things.
He said that there are also important opportunities for those in the performing and film arts, which goes beyond actual performing to effective management of talents, their programmes and projects.
“Today every good concept needs well trained managers who understand how the industry works and how to leverage the entertainment value chain.
“Isn’t it time for `uberification’ of Nollywood, to make actors and actresses especially new talents more visible to film makers?” he queried
“The exciting thing is that anyone, including the microbiologist can be the next innovator in the entertainment industry. Such is the versatility of multi-tasking. a new market for the performing arts but also for any other taker is animation skills for movies, education, entertainment and advertising.
It is a new growth area and it is attracting talents from every discipline including the fine arts, architecture, software writing, screen play writing and others in film production generally.
“One thing that I want to assure you today is that we are all together determined to make sure that we give every opportunity that is possible to the youth in technology and innovation. I can assure you that the next few years are going to be great indeed,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefilure said that the program is part of government’s sustainable development goals’ commitment which would be replicated in every state to lift the Nigeria youths from poverty.
Ministers of Communication, Adebayo Shittu; Sports, Solomon Dalung and Labour, Chris Ngige harped on the importance of the training to youth development.
They promised to key into the move for positive development of the youths.
Shittu said that his ministry will work with the Ministry of Education towards including the digital training into the educational curriculum at all levels.
The theme of the event was “Diversifying the Nigerian economy: enabling youth through digital skills training”