… Nigeria’s Tech Space Would Be More Viable in Africa: Microsoft
Like global tech giants including Google Inc., HUAWEI, and leading social media company Facebook, another international tech heavyweight, Microsoft Corporation, has revealed plans to partner with the Federal Government for the benefit of the Nigerian population, especially young people.
Specifically, Microsoft now offers 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 following the establishment of an African Technology Development Center in 2020, all in affirmation of the efforts of the Buhari administration in creating a viable technology ecosystem in Nigeria.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said Thursday in a virtual meeting with the 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 the problems that affect especially young people in their productive participation.
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 the same year, made public its decision to open an office in Lagos as part of its planned expansion. in the sub-Saharan. Africa. HUAWEI, on the other hand, last November promised the vice president that the company will position Nigeria as a technology hub for the African continent.
Speaking about the need to constantly engage with youth, the Vice President noted that the Nigerian case is peculiar given that youth make up 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 only one wave of widespread anger throughout the world and people in general are impatient. Impatient with the government, impatient with practically all the formal structures that exist.
“But I’m open and happy to hear what views there might be about trying to engage and involve young people even more (and in our case, that’s 70% of our population, if not more). So we are really talking not only about the young population but also about the Nigerian population because it is the majority. So whatever we can implement to be more inclusive, to get even more involved, is really a solution for the entire population rather than a solution for just a segment of our population, especially given that young people make up 70% or even more. “.
Speaking about the government’s efforts to develop the technological space, especially to promote viable sectors of the economy, Professor Osinbajo pointed out that “we have a digital innovation initiative that we hope will be the basis for doing much more in the digital space than we are. doing. At the time.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized that “just looking at agriculture, this is obviously something we have invested a lot of time and resources in, especially in recent years. We have also seen the development of a good number of agro-technological and fin-tech companies that are also working in the agricultural sector. So it’s a lot of innovation in the agricultural tech space, especially in recent years. So I think we really are ready for programs to support these kinds of ag tech initiatives. “
Referring to the partnership with Microsoft, especially the establishment of the development center, the vice president said: “I’ve always wondered how Microsoft can be a much more effective partner with us as a country.
“Starting with the African Development Center, which I think is excellent, I think it shows Microsoft’s commitment to developing the digital center here in Nigeria. And it also shows the company’s confidence in the type of talent we have and the government’s commitment to ensuring that we develop that talent in the best possible way. “
After assuring investors in the Nigerian economy of the Buhari administration’s commitment to creating the right environment for businesses to thrive, the Vice President said that “we are all working to create the right environment for innovation and creativity. That is still a problem that we are faced with on a daily basis, and I think the challenges are the challenges that we will have to face (in my opinion) even in the coming years. “
For his part, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, said that the Federal Government has already established the necessary structures to partner with Microsoft and other technology companies in the development of Nigeria’s technology ecosystem.
He said that the National Policy for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the National Policy for Electronic Governance, among others, have been adopted by the Buhari administration to support the growth of technology and innovation in the country.
At the beginning of his remarks, Mr. Smith noted that his company’s vision for investing in Nigeria was one that would lead to the creation of the most viable technology ecosystem in Africa.
Smith said the company’s investment in Nigeria is a demonstration of its enthusiasm for the ongoing digital transformation in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
He proposed a 90-day timeline for stakeholders on the government and Microsoft side, to clarify the details of the various areas of collaboration.
Other participants in the meeting include the Microsoft Corporation National Manager for Nigeria and Ghana, Mr. Akin Banuso, among others.