Microsoft Corporation, has disclosed plans to partner with the Federal Government for the benefit of the Nigerian people, especially young people.Specifically, Microsoft is now offering support for the Digital Transformation pillar of the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan.
This will be a continuation of the technology company’s investment in Nigeria after the establishment of an African Technology Development Centre in 2020, all in affirmation of the efforts of the Buhari administration in the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in Nigeria.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday noted in a virtual meeting with a Microsoft Corporation team, led by its President, Brad Smith, that the company’s interest in supporting the efforts of the Federal Government is a welcome development and could be leveraged to address issues affecting the youths, especially in engaging them productively.
While Google Inc. in July 2020 announced plans to establish its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos, Facebook, in September of same year, made public its decision to open an office in Lagos as part of its planned expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
HUAWEI on the other hand last November promised the Vice President that the company will position Nigeria as a technology centre for the African continent.
Speaking on the need to constantly engage with the youths, the Vice President noted that Nigeria’s case is peculiar given that the youths constitute a larger percentage of the country’s population hence the need for all stakeholders to pay more attention to that demography.
His words: “It seems to me that there is just a wave of general anger around the world and people are generally impatient. Impatient with government, impatient with practically all of the formal structures there are.
“But I am open and happy to hear what views there might be on trying to engage and engage even more with young people (and in our case, that is 70 per cent of our population, if not more).
“So, we are really talking not just about the youth population but the Nigerian populace because that is the majority.
“So, whatever it is that we are able to deploy to be more inclusive, to engage even more, is really a solution for the entire populace as opposed to a solution for just a segment of our population especially given the fact that young people constitute 70 per cent or even more.”
Speaking on the government efforts in developing the technology space especially in boosting viable sectors of the economy, Prof. Osinbajo noted: “We have a digital innovation initiative which we hope will be the foundation for doing far more in the digital space than we are doing at the moment.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo emphasised: “Just looking at agriculture, this is obviously something that we’ve spent quite a bit of time and resources on especially in the past few years.
“We have also seen the development of a good number of agric-tech type companies and fin-techs that are also working in the agric sector.
“So, it’s a whole load of innovation around the agric tech space, especially in the past few years. So, I think we really are up for programmes that will support these sorts of agric-tech initiatives.”
Referring to the partnership with Microsoft, especially the establishment of the development centre, the Vice President said: “I have always wondered how Microsoft can just be a much more effective partner with us as a country.