Google Nigeria announced recently, the launch of the Google Digital Skills for Africa program in Aba and other local communities in Abia State.
The Head, Brand and Reputation, Sub-Saharan Africa on Google, Mrs Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, made this known at the unveiling of the digital skills in Aba.
According to her, the Google’s Digital Skills for Africa programme offers training courses to help individuals and communities develop and grow digital skills, find jobs and advance in their careers.
She said that the programme would provide free online courses, tools and in-person digital training of students, educators, job seekers and businesses.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria as at December 2017 was 18.8 per cent (16 million people) and under-employment at 21.2 per cent.
“The youth make up 60 percent of Africa’s unemployed; developing digital entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities for them is critical to Africa’s transformative growth.”
“We are doing this because we believe that more needs to be done to empower young Africans to succeed in the digital world,” Aderemi-Makinde said.
She said that Google announced its Digital Skills for Africa initiative in 2016, and that it’s committed to training one million young Africans within one year.
Aderemi-Makinde noted that in 2017, it extended the program for another five years in order to reach 10 million Africans.
In 2018, Google announced plans to help more people in Africa prepare for the jobs of the future through local community-focused Digital Skills Training programs.
She said that in total, over three million people had now acquired different levels of digital skills in 29 countries across Africa via face-to-face training as well as through the online platform – g.co/digitalskills which is available in English, French and Portuguese.
The Governor of Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu, said that commercial activities was dependent on the digital world, saying that government was excited in having Google introduced Digital Skills training to business community and local manufacturers in Aba.
Ikpeazu, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, said that the training would drive business expansion, help to increase sales and create employment opportunities in the state.
“The world is now a global place as a result of Information Technology and Abia through the Digital Skills Training by Google will be able to key into the digital narrative, giving Aba, the commercial hub in Nigeria, the needed visibility,” he said.
Ikpeazu said that the partnership with Google would ensure a base station in Aba and 20 other areas; an ICT policy that would drive the state and deployment of internet services to government house, tertiary institutions, especially Abia State University.
Mr Onyebuchi Nwigwe, the President, Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers, Aba, Abia State, said that Google’s presence with its digital skills in Aba, would help project their businesses worldwide.
He said that the association was opened to receiving the training from Google.
Nwigwe said they knew that as fashion designers and tailors they would be able to properly compete with their counterparts across the world after adopting and introducing the digital skills to their business models.
Nwigwe urged government to give them a parcel of land where they could come together and work to enhance their productivity.
Newsmen said that Digital Skills for Africa programme is designed to address the skills needs of job seekers and small business owners.
The programme has to date been rolled out in roughly 100 communities in many countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
By engaging directly with the communities that can most benefit from the training, Google is able to identify the specific needs of these communities.
Google supports their local growth activities and ensure the impact is felt not just on an individual level but also at a community level.