NITDA and Partners Launch Digital Literacy Initiative for Nigerian Youth

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has rolled out an extensive program designed to bridge the digital divide and empower Nigerian youth. This initiative aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, focusing on economic reform and inclusive growth through digital literacy and tech talent cultivation.

The partnership, formalized at the NYSC Secretariat in Abuja, underscores a unified effort to prepare the nation’s youth for the demands of the digital economy. This initiative is a key element of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) under the pillar “Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents.”

The program aims to deliver hands-on training in crucial areas such as software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing. It is designed to reach an ambitious target of 30 million young Nigerians, including NYSC members, by 2027, equipping them with the skills necessary to thrive in a digitally-driven world.

Speaking at the launch, NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, highlighted the critical role of technology in boosting productivity and enhancing digital capabilities among the youth.

“We have set up the team working with your team to explore how you can infuse technology into the NYSC process,” he said. “Experimenting with emerging technologies like blockchain to secure NYSC certificates and building digital skills capacity among Corps Members is part of our broader mission.”

Inuwa emphasized the global demand for tech talent, citing research predicting a deficit of 85 million skilled professionals by 2030, which could result in an annual loss of 8.5 trillion US dollars if not addressed. He underscored the initiative’s potential to not only boost employability but also spur innovation and economic growth within Nigeria.

NITDA has developed the National Digital Literacy Framework, aiming for 95% digital literacy by 2030, with a mid-term goal of 70% by 2027. The framework advocates for universal access to digital skills, proficiency development, and workforce readiness for future digital needs.

Detailing the plan’s implementation, Inuwa spoke about integrating digital training into the NYSC service year and using Corps Members as digital literacy ambassadors across Nigeria.

“Our target is to leverage the NYSC platform to deepen digital literacy,” he explained. “This involves onboarding Corps Members onto digital platforms, providing ongoing learning opportunities, and selecting ambassadors to teach digital skills within their communities.”

Inuwa called for a collective effort from the government, private sector, and other stakeholders to build solutions that address local challenges and harness indigenous talents.

Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande Wisdom, praised the collaboration, emphasizing a shared commitment to improving the future prospects of Nigerian youth. “I appreciate this collaboration because we are one family working towards the same goal.”

“As long as Nigerian youth end up in a better position, that is what truly matters,” he said.

The Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Yusha’u Dogara Ahmed, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, assuring that the NYSC is fully prepared to support and engage in the process.

“This initiative is a positive development for us in NYSC,” he stated. “There is no doubt we will fully collaborate with NITDA to embrace this process.”

As the initiative moves forward, it promises to be a transformative effort in equipping Nigeria’s youth with the digital skills necessary to lead and innovate in a rapidly evolving global economy.

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