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MoU with IBM to bridge huge digital literacy gap in rural areas, others—Minister

More details weekend emerged from the latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) sealed with the International Business Machine (IBM) by the Federal Government in Abuja recently.

In his remarks, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, said “The signing of the agreement is very strategic, timely, and very relevant to the digital economy policy strategy of the government.

“There is a huge digital literacy gap in the country, especially in the rural areas and one of the objectives of the MoU is to create a pool of Nigerians with digital skills that can be validated through globally recognised certification.

The minister linked the new deal with IBM to parts of drive to implement President Muhammadu Buhari’s Digital Economy Policy and Strategy in line with the pillars for digital literacy and skills, which are critical to achieving digital economy.

“We all know that to implement the digital economy, there must be broadband services, stressing that the Federal Government wants to ensure that the broadband strategy is implemented.

“We want to increase broadband penetration; we are still having challenges like the issue of Right of Way, which is why we are pleading with the governors to understand that broadband is key to our economic growth and development. It will increase the nation’s GDP. The broadband penetration is currently at 37.5 percent, we are making progress, and we are addressing the obstacles to our broadband penetration.

NCC Minister Fayemi
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 16/01/2020) met with the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in Abuja.
(There meeting was a follow-up to discuss how to address the issue of Right of Way (RoW) and other similar challenges confronting the telecoms industry. You will recall series of report you have done in recent past around the issue of RoW).

“This MoU will also bridge the gap between the academia and industry. Most of our institutions are focused on certificates; we are working with relevant institutions to ensure that the gap is bridged. We have digital economy for digital Nigeria.”

Addressing the media shortly after the MoU was sealed at the Minister’s office, Country General Manager of IBM Nigeria, Mr Dipo Faulkner, noted that “Digital economy and emerging technologies have brought changes in skill requirements as well as unemployment globally today,” and stressed the need to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurship to ensure that people don’t acquire education alone, but that they also have skills for self-sustainability and development of their environment.

According to him, “IBM has a project known as, Digital Nations Africa, which is a free online platform for digital literacy, and we are hopeful that the MoU will be mutually beneficial.

“This will be IBM’s contributions to Nigeria to help bridge the skills gap. We cannot afford to be left behind in the digital economy,” Faulkner averred.