Nigerian Government commends Google's ₦1.2 billion grant initiative

The initiative, "Mind the gap,” will equip 20,000 Nigerian women and youth with vital digital skills.

Nigerian Government commends Google's ₦1.2 billion grant initiative
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima and the Google delegation

The Federal Government of Nigeria through, the Vice President, Kashim Shettima has praised Google's ₦1.2 billion grant initiative to train Nigerian youths with digital skills.

Themed, "Mind the gap,” the initiative seeks to equip 20,000 Nigerian women and youth with vital digital skills. The program would offer training in diverse areas such as data science, artificial intelligence, web development, and mobile app development, utilising both online and in-person delivery methods.

At the meeting with the Google executives in the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, Vice President Kashim Shettima said, the grant which would support the current administration’s digital jobs initiative is commendable and worthy of emulation by other companies.

“Let’s think outside the box and create more job opportunities. We need to walk the talk. It is easy to pontificate, but very difficult to bring all the ideas to fruition. I want to assure you, this administration is ready to partner with you. Nigeria is ready for business. The President that we have now wants to leave a legacy that Nigerians will be proud of many years after.” Shettima said.

Speaking on the potential of the country to harness the potential of its huge youth population to create millions of jobs in the digital sector, he continued, “We have more English-speaking people than many countries in Africa and beyond. We missed the agricultural age, we missed the industrial age, and we are now in the knowledge-driven post-industrial age.”

“Therefore, we have the potential and a unique opportunity to fill the anticipated global talent deficit. Access Bank is doing a lot in terms of digital skills, training 1,000 youths in digital skills to create employment opportunities. We are working with Wema Bank, the Bank of Industry, and other partners on this project. We are willing to partner with Google, and we will work closely with you for the good of our nation,” he added.  

While responding to the Vice President, Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Mr. Olumide Balogun, said: “We see immense potential in Nigeria, particularly among the youth. Digital technologies aren’t just tools, they’re gateways to countless opportunities.

With these platforms, our dynamic youth can step forth, becoming pivotal players in the digital economy. Our grant from Google.org is not only an investment but a testament to our belief in Nigeria’s bright future. We’re honoured to support the Federal Government’s admirable goal of creating 1 million digital jobs and will continue to be steadfast partners in this transformative journey.”

About Google’s ‘Mind the Gap’ Initiative

The “Mind the Gap” initiative consists of three components. The first is the ‘Digital Onboarders Program’, which will train 5,000 youth not in employment, education, or training with the necessary digital skills. This will be followed by their integration into consumer-centric businesses across 12 states in Nigeria.

The second component, is the ‘Arewa Tech4Ladies’ program would provide digital learning for women in four semi-urban and rural communities in Kaduna State for women in four semi-urban and rural communities in Kaduna State. Through this, 5,000 women and girls will be trained in areas such as data science and artificial intelligence.

The final pillar is the Engage Nigeria initiative, which is designed to offer training and mentorship to 10,000 prodigious young talents across the nation, supporting the growing creative industry.”

The initiative by Google aligns with President Tinubu’s commitment to fostering a digitally skilled workforce.  It involves Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, in collaboration with Data Science Nigeria and the Creative Industry Initiative for Africa.

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