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‘New normal’ accelerates demand for digital skills, 4IR tech

By , ITWeb
Nigeria , 02 Oct 2020

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the government of Nigeria and Microsoft have launched the Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform to empower the country’s youth with digital skills.

According to a statement released to the media, the platform offers courses in web development, content creation, and data science, among others, and uses gamification techniques to teach problem solving, collaboration, creative thinking and basic coding.

The platform will be continually updated with new courses and leverage partnerships to provide training certifications, the organisers have stated.

The organisations added that within 24 hours of launch, the platform recorded over 16,000 user registrations. Nearly 6000 of registrants had completed at least one training course and earned a certificate.

Content will be accessible via a web site and a mobile app.

The platform will leverage AfDB’s Coding for Employment initiative and “build linkages between the public and private sectors to create 9 million jobs in Africa’s digital economy in the next ten years.”

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, said: “We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills…This is a growing trend across the globe. The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.”

Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for the Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, said the new normal had accelerated the demand for digital services and 4IR technologies across all sectors.

“From artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media communication, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and so much more – the world has undergone a massive disruption. The African Development Bank is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to realise a fully integrated digital agenda,” Faal said.

Ghada Khalifa, Middle East & Africa Director for Microsoft Philanthropies, added: “Microsoft Philanthropies is committed to creating inclusive economic opportunities in light of the economic crisis created by COVID-19. We are investing in building the capacity of 5 million African youth by 2025, and excited about our collaboration with the African Development Bank and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria with the launch of the Digital Nigeria platform to provide Nigerians with access to digital skills to meet the demand of the job market.”

The Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform is a key component of the Digital Nigeria programme, which aims to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.

The Digital Nigeria programme aligns with the AfDB's agenda to create 25 million jobs in agriculture, ICT and other key sectors by 2025, and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills.

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