Federal Government has launched a Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile Application on Monday, September 28 as part of the implementation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital country.
Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) performed the virtual launch of the mobile application on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, the project is also in line with an upgrade of the mandate, on October 17, 2019, stressing;
This was then adopted by the Federal Executive Council on the 23rd of October 2019 and the implementation of the revised mandate of the Ministry commenced on the 24th of October 2019.
FMCDE, in delivering this key mandate, is in partnership with global institutions including the African Development Bank (AFDB), Microsoft, to enable Nigerians to acquire cutting edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.
Pantami in his speech expressed that the development of National Digital Economy is anchored on the following 8 pillars as stated in NDEPS;
Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy & Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development & Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society & Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.
The Minister also expressed that a number of unprecedented achievements have been recorded since the implementation of NDEPS.
He listed them as;
i. Resolution of the lingering issues of excessive Right of Way charges and vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure;
ii. rapid broadband penetration, with an increase by about 10% in 11 months (with a value of 42.02% at the end of July 2020), instead of the average annual increase of about 1.7%;
iii. development and swift implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP);
significant increase in the contribution of ICT to the GDP based on the Q2 2020
GDP – 17.83% – as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics;
v. promotion of digital services in government, including Virtual Federal Executive Council meetings.
In addition, Pantami noted that the effect of the digital economy is far greater than the ICT contribution shows, stressing;
The Digital Economy encompasses ICT and all Digital Services, which includes all online activities in financial institutions, ecommerce, online tax payment, any form of online payment, online banking, etc. When we consider these, the contribution of the Digital Economy could be up to 45% or even more.
Pantami said it was part of the government’s key initiatives aimed at empowering innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in an emerging digital economy.
The Minister, however, reiterated the government’s resolve to promote skills over paper qualifications, adding;
We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
Degrees are only meant to validate skills, this is a growing trend across the globe.
The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy.
It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens. The
“Digital Nigeria” mobile app is available on play store and apple store, enabling Nigerians to enrol in ICT courses within the comfort of their homes.
Pantami said that much of the content was provided through AfDB’s partnership with Microsoft, adding that students can download certificates after completing the courses.
According to him, across the globe, there is a growing focus on the need for developing skills, rather than merely acquiring degrees.
Today, we are formally launching the www.dIgitalnigerIa.gov.ng portal and the ‘Digital Nigeria’ Mobile App. We are committed to enabling Nigerians acquire high level digital skills from the comfort of their homes.
The Minister statement partly reads;
Some of our objectives for launching these platforms including the following:
1. to provide capacity building in a wide range of areas, including Digital Literacy, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Database Administration, Networking, Programming, Internet of Things and Soft Skills;
2. to create a platform to support a paradigm shift from degrees to skills and bridge the gap between the academia and industry
3. to promote the development and distribution of instructional materials in electronic format;
4. and to create an enabling environment for building the capacity of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through e-learning channels.
The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships as a key requirement for the successful development of our National Digital Economy. As such, we are very delighted to partner with the African Development Bank and the Microsoft on this very important initiative.
The training content covers areas like Digital Skills, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming and Internet of Things. There is also training on soft skills like entrepreneurship, research, marketing, business and how to create excellent resumes. As such, a wide spectrum of users, from beginners to advanced students, can find appropriate courses.
We will regularly update the platform to include more courses from time to time. It will enable us identify skilled Nigerians for additional capacity building opportunities and allow us to easily conduct surveys to identify courses of interest. Students will receive certificate of completion after completing the courses.
The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to developing the capacity of Nigerians to use technology to solve problems. We will keep updating the course offerings to reflect global trends. The step by step procedure for using the platforms will be available on our website and social media pages.