In a bid to bolster digital job opportunities for Nigerian youth and support the growth of the country’s economy, the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is joining forces with WEMA Bank to establish digital hubs in seven states. The initiative, known as the FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNnovation Hub, aims to empower one million youths with digital skills and provide grants to 500,000 MSMEs.
In a release signed by a Director of Information in the Office of the Vice President, Mr Olusola Abiola, the FG said the first centres will be launched in Lagos and Borno States, with Katsina, Cross River, Anambra, Oyo, and Kano following suit. The collaboration was confirmed after a meeting between representatives of WEMA Bank and Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja.
The programme’s strategic objectives are three-fold: first, to empower young entrepreneurs by offering tailored financial products, training, and support to build sustainable businesses. Secondly, it seeks to support tech-savvy youths with a passion for digital innovation by providing them with financial solutions, training, and access to strategic partnerships. Lastly, it aims to integrate young employees into Nigeria’s workforce, especially those deployed through the NYSC.
The FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNnovation Hub will serve as a centralised platform, offering cutting-edge digital skills, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Its focus lies in promoting entrepreneurship, skills development, and integrating young employees into the workforce. The target is to employ one million youths in the digital economy while upskilling SMEs to contribute directly to the nation’s economic growth.
Under this ambitious scheme, one million young adults will be trained in various digital disciplines such as software engineering, product management, business analysis, cloud computing, and product design. In addition, 500,000 SMEs across Nigeria will receive expert mentorship and coaching to spur business growth.
The Federal Government and WEMA Bank have allocated N500 million for grants to be provided to SMEs and techpreneurs through a collaborative arrangement. This move demonstrates the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and creating a conducive environment for digital entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
The FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNnovation Hub’s launch in Lagos and Borno States marks the beginning of an inspiring endeavour to equip Nigerian youths with digital skills, transform SMEs, and drive technological advancements across the nation. The ripple effect of this initiative is expected to catalyse economic growth and open up exciting opportunities for the future of Nigeria’s digital landscape.
Tech skills play a pivotal role in driving SMEs in Nigeria, especially with the country’s youthful population.
According to a 2021 report, Nigeria’s youth population accounts for over 60% of its total population, presenting immense opportunities for digital entrepreneurship. With digital skills training, SMEs can tap into this potential workforce, innovate, and compete globally, fostering economic growth and creating sustainable job opportunities.