Nigerian Government Launches Digital Portal and Mobile App to Fast-track Digital Literacy and Skills

Dr. Pantami during the launch

As part of its determined to fastrack its the implementation of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar two, the Nigerian Government today launched the Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile App.

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The launch of the portal is part of the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria, which was recently unveiled by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.

Unveiling the portal today in Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami said that the launch is the journey towards developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy commenced when Mr President approved the request of redesignation of the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, along with an upgrade of the mandate.

According to him, the effect of the digital economy is far greater than the ICT contribution shows noting that the Digital Economy encompasses ICT and all Digital Services, which includes all online activities in financial institutions, ecommerce, online tax payment, any form of online payment and online banking.

“When we consider these, the contribution of the Digital Economy could be up to 45% or even more”, he said.

He added: “the Digital Nigeria Programme will provide a National Platform for improving the digital literacy of Nigerians and it will enable Nigerians from all walks of life to acquire high level digital skills. It will have a strong emphasis on Skills for Jobs and will include Nigerians in all strata of society, such as youth, women, children, internally displaced persons and people living with disabilities”.

The Minister disclosed that Nigeria is championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills saying that degrees are only meant to validate skills.

He explained that China recently started the process of turning 600 of the country’s general universities into skill centre noting that the President of the United States of America signed an Executive Order on the 26th of June 2020 directing the federal government to lay emphasis on skills rather than degrees when hiring staff.

“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. We recently provided a platform to support the Digital Nigeria program, enabling Nigerians to receive training in diverse digital skills. As part of these efforts, I earlier launched another online academy executed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Over 40,000 Nigerians have enrolled across both platforms since the 2nd of April, 2020”, Pantami stated.

The training content of the portal covers areas like Digital Skills, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming and Internet of Things.

There is also training on soft skills like entrepreneurship, research, marketing, business and how to create excellent resumes. As such, a wide spectrum of users, from beginners to advanced students, can find appropriate courses.

The Minister noted that the portal will be regularly updated to include more courses and that it will enable the nation identify skilled Nigerians for additional capacity building opportunities and allow for easy conduct of surveys to identify courses of interest saying that students will receive certificate of completion after completing the courses.

Some of our objectives for launching these platforms including the following:

i. to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in Nigeria’s emerging digital economy;

ii. to provide capacity building in a wide range of areas, including Digital Literacy, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming, Internet of Things and Soft Skills;

iii. to create a platform to support a paradigm shift from degrees to skills and bridge the gap between the academia and industry;

iv. to promote the development and distribution of instructional materials in electronic format; and

v. to create an enabling environment for building the capacity of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through e-learning channels.

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