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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Nigeria welcomes Microsoft Corp. support for economic sustainability plan

Nigeria has welcomed the move by Microsoft Corporation to support its economic sustainability plan.

Microsoft had offered support for the Digital Transformation pillar of the federal government’s Economic Sustainability Plan as a continuation of the technology company’s investment in Nigeria.

The technology company had established an African Technology Development Centre in 2020, in the country in affirmation of the efforts of the government in the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in Nigeria.

in a statement on Friday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said he federal government is a welcome development which could be leveraged to address issues affecting the youths especially in engaging them productively.

The Vice President at a virtual meeting with Microsoft Corporation President, Brad Smith said Nigeria’s case is peculiar given that the youths constitute a larger percentage of the country’s population hence the need for all stakeholders to pay more attention to that demography.

“It seems to me that there is just a wave of general anger around the world and people are generally impatient.

“Impatient with government, impatient with practically all of the formal structures there are. But I am open and happy to hear what views there might be on trying to engage and engage even more with young people (and in our case, that is 70 percent of our population, if not more).

“So, we are really talking not just about the youth population but the Nigerian populace because that is the majority. So, whatever it is that we are able to deploy to be more inclusive, to engage even more, is really a solution for the entire populace as opposed to a solution for just a segment of our population especially given the fact that young people constitute 70 percent or even more,” Osinbajo said.

“We have a digital innovation initiative which we hope will be the foundation for doing far more in the digital space than we are doing at the moment.”

Continuing, the vice-president emphasized that: “Just looking at agriculture, this is obviously something that we’ve spent quite a bit of time and resources on especially in the past few years. “We have also seen the development of a good number of agric-tech type companies and fin-techs that are also working in the agric sector.

“So, it’s a whole load of innovation around the agric-tech space, especially in the past few years. So, I think we really are up for programmes that will support these sorts of agric-tech initiatives,” the Vice President said.

Referring to the partnership with Microsoft, especially the establishment of the development centre, he said: “I have always wondered how Microsoft can just be a much more effective partner with us as a country.

“Beginning with the African Development Centre which I think is excellent, I think it shows the commitment of Microsoft in developing the digital centre here in Nigeria.

“And it also shows the company’s confidence in the sort of talents that we have and the commitment of government to ensuring that we develop that talent in the best possible ways that we can.”

Assuring investors in the Nigerian economy of the commitment of the administration in creating the right environment for businesses to thrive, the vice-president said: “We are all working to create the right environment for innovation and creativity.

“That remains an issue that we are dealing with on a daily basis, and I think that the challenges are the challenges of the sort that we are going to have to be dealing with (in my view) even in the coming years.”


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