Nigeria is looking at technology as a sector with massive growth potential in its economy. The shortage of IT literacy and lack of adequate government support for IT innovation have kept Nigeria from achieving its full technology potential. But we think that the Nigerian technology sector would be a great step.
However, things are set to change soon or later. The federal government of Nigeria has drawn a plan that will see 400,000 youths equipped with technology skills that they can use to innovate and make the country competitive in the global technology scene.
The training of the youths in partnership with Google and a host of other major tech companies. Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, revealed the plan to train 400,000 youths in technology at the launch of Google Digital Training for Youth Empowerment.
Upcoming Tech Hubs in Lagos and Abuja
According to Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the minister of Science and Technology, Nigeria scored 2.8 out of a possible 7 to rank at position 117 out of 140 countries in Technology Readiness ranking in the Global Competitive Report for 2015/2016. That signals the country’s upside potential if the government can increase its investment in and support for tech literacy and innovation so that the country can not only cut reliance on other tech producers but also export its technology for foreign exchange earnings.
Also, VP Osinbajo said that the government will establish two major tech hubs in Lagos and Abuja. There are also plans to set up six regional hubs in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.
Whether in Abuja or Lagos or the six regions, the VP said the hubs will be properly equipped for capacity building.
Can technology transform Nigeria economy?
The government recognizes plan for tech hubs across the country of the role technology and innovation can play in transforming Nigeria economy with the Nigerian technology sector.
Nigeria’s economy has entered into recession mode, following a 2.1% of the country’s economy in the June quarter. That marked the second quarter in a row that Nigeria economic contracted. Nigeria is feeling the heat of the slump in crude oil prices. The country relies on oil money for 70% of its national budget. Oil also contributes 90% of Nigeria’s foreign earnings. The IMF predicts that Nigeria’s economy will shrink 1.8% in in 2016.
Moreover, by building more local technical capacity and inspiring innovation, Nigeria can fire its economic growth. It can also diversify its sources of revenue for a more resilient economy.
Focus of Nigeria’s tech hubs
Given the efforts that startups are already making in Nigeria technology sector. It is welcome news that the government has plans to train thousands of youth in technology studies. A move that should support rapid industry growth and diversification.
Nigeria’s tech hubs
VP Osinbajo said that each of the hubs that will get set up across Nigeria will focus on producing relevant technology. Also, the solutions that encompass a wide range of economic sectors. Some of the sectors targeted by technology innovation are education, healthcare, government services and renewable energy.
Government sets aside budget for 65,000 youths
To signal government’s commitment to improve the country’s IT literacy and innovation. Also, the VP said that a budget has already been allocated for training of 65,000 Nigerian youths in hardware and software skills. It ranges from the basics to more sophisticated skills.