Wednesday, December 18, 2019 /01:30 PM /
Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV
Nigeria's chances of becoming a globally competitive economy in the age of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) hinge on critical investments in digital skills.
The argument was part of the key takeaways from the 2019 work plan forum organized by the Rise Networks in Lagos, which addressed the theme "The Future of Work and the 4th Industrial Revolution Powered by Local Content".
In his goodwill message at the event by a video presentation, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, described the youth as Africa's best assets.
According to him "What a nation does with its youth will determine its progress" and stressed the fact that smart nations invest in their youthful population.
Adesina speaking on the spate of youth empowerment programs in Africa, argued that young entrepreneurs in the continent need investments in their business ideas not handouts.
Speaking on digital skills development in the continent, Dr Adesina informed participants at the event that the AfDB is partnering with Microsoft to establish coding centres across the continent.
He believed coding will be one of the critical digital skills for Africans to acquire in the 21st century.
The Country Manager, Google Office in West Africa Juliet Ehimuan in her keynote at the forum asserted that investments in digital skills, will be vital for Nigeria's quest to become a competitive economy.
Ehimuan said Google is currently providing a platform for digital skills training for 10m Africans, which will equip and position them to become agents of economic transformation.
Speaking further she described the mobile phone as a powerful tool for the continent to experience digital revolution.
She noted that scaling the digital skills in the country, will help to address the high level of unemployment which is currently over 23.1%.
The Founder of Rise Networks and Convener of the 2019 Workplan on the Future of Work and the 4th Industrial Revolution Forum Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji also in her remrks emphasized the need for a skill-based Nigerian economy that drives productivity.
She cited China as an example of an industrialized nation and leading economic giant that has been investing strategically in its education system and skills development.
Toyosi informed participants that the 2019 Workplan forum was part of the Rise Networks agenda to play a key role in enabling Nigeria's transition into the fourth industrial revolution.
In speaking on digital skills and learning, the convener said Rise Networks is working with crucial stakeholders on curriculum redesign for the Tertiary Institutions and has discussed with the Office of the President. She particularly wanted subjects like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Analytics and Data Science taught in higher institutions in Nigeria.