ICT expert wants AfDB’s project replicated

An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Akindayo Akindolani, has urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to extend the Code for Employment initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to the 774 local government areas (LGAs) in the country.
He made the call at a two-day summit organized by Afritex in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja.
According to him, with NITDA’s computer centres built in almost 774 LGAs nationwide, the digital ambassadors trained by the AfDB through partnerships with Microsoft and the McAnderson Institute of Technology (MIT) could support more unemployed youth in the grassroots areas.

This move, he added, will help reduce the rising unemployment rate in the country, as the capacity building would prepare beneficiaries for high-paying remote jobs in the digital space.
“NITDA can scale the project in all 774 LGAs by empowering the Digital Ambassadors trained to continue the redeployment of capacity building in their local governments.
“I am confident that the code for employment is capable of reducing unemployment once we expose our youth to the required skills for future jobs.
Once our people are rightly skilled with the in-demand-driven skills, then getting a job placement within and outside Nigeria would be an easy thing,” he stated.
He further disclosed that the code for the employment programme is operational in Côte d’Ivoire with 75 participants, 100 beneficiaries from Kenya, about 150 from Nigeria, and 175 youth from Senegal.
Akindolani, who is the founder of MIT, also stressed the need for the education ministry to infuse digital literacy and coding skills into the school curriculum.
He said the policy would, in the long run, help the majority of the students become labour employers rather than wait for scarce white-collar jobs.
He advised that the potential partners could provide a stipend for the code for employment beneficiaries across the local communities in the local governments.
The AfDB’s Code for Employment programme is a pilot project where 500 changemakers, 45 per cent of whom are women from four countries, were selected for the digital ambassadors’ programme.
The selected digital ambassadors embarked on a three-month course during which they were equipped with in-demand digital skills, such as software development. Also, soft skills such as problem-solving, project management, and communication
Beneficiaries are subsequently allowed to partake in a peer-to-peer training model that seeks to expand digital skills for more African youth, especially in rural communities with limited internet connectivity.
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