Microsoft collaborates with Nigerian government to fast-track digital transformation
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CAPE TOWN - American multinational technology company Microsoft announced this week that it will partner with the Nigerian government to accelerate digital transformation in the West African country.
Microsoft said in a statement on Monday that it has detailed several projects aimed at intensifying the nation’s move to become a more digital economy.
The company said that it has identified three key pillars that will help to build strong foundations for a digital economy in Nigeria, namely connectivity, skilling and digital transformation.
Microsoft president Brad Smith said that as a company they believe in the future of Nigeria and that they are excited to add the country to their investments.
“Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, to foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to use technology to preserve the best of the past and take us into the future,” said Smith.
Microsoft said that while the coronavirus pandemic has increased the pace of digitisation, much needs to be done to empower all citizens to take advantage of the opportunities of a digital economy.
According to the website Statista.com, internet penetration in Nigeria amounted to 46.6% of the population in 2020 and is set to reach 65.2% in 2025.
Furthermore, the company said that its Airband Initiative has succeeded in bringing high-speed internet connectivity to underserved communities around the world, adding that the technology is cheaper and faster to deploy than fibre and has the added benefit of being able to travel long distances and through forested terrain.
Microsoft said that six regions in the country have been earmarked for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure.
The company said that its Airband team will work closely with local partners to improve broadband connectivity in these communities while also assisting with the design and implementation of hyper-scale cloud services.
Microsoft said that it is committing to upskilling five million people in Nigeria over the next three years.
Further to this, it said that the government will also be given the tools to digitally transform skilling, education and employment methods to match job seekers with the right employers.
The company said it hopes to create more than 27,000 new digital jobs in the next three years.
According to the statement, the final pillar, digital transformation, will initially be made up of two initiatives.
The first will address corruption, a major global challenge with economic losses totalling US$3.6 trillion each year.
The company added that it will help protect Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage as it looks to deploy artificial intelligence tools to safeguard these treasures for future generations.
Furthermore, through a newly formed partnership with the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, the technology giant said it will support the organisation’s efforts to preserve and revive Nigeria’s three major indigenous languages, namely Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.