Microsoft Partners With The Federal Government To Fight Corruption And Provide Five Million Nigerians With High-Speed Internet And Digital Skills

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Microsoft Partners with the Federal Government to Fight Corruption and Provide Five Million Nigerians with High-Speed Internet and Digital Skills

Microsoft has partnered with the Nigerian Federal Government to launch several projects to accelerate the country's transition to a more digital economy.

Microsoft identified three critical pillars that will aid in establishing a strong foundation for a digital economy in Nigeria following extensive consultations with the government: connectivity, skilling, and digital transformation.

While research indicates that around 50% of Nigerians have access to the internet, and while the pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitisation, much work remains to be done to empower everyone to make use of the opportunities that are offered by a digital economy.

Microsoft's Airband Initiative has successfully brought high-speed internet connectivity to underserved communities worldwide by utilising unused television white space broadcasting frequencies. The technology is more cost-effective and faster to deploy than fibre and has the added benefit of travelling long distances and through densely forested areas.

Six regions across the country have been identified for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure after the discussions with the Federal Ministry of Communication and local partners.


What to expect after the partnership

Microsoft's Airband team will collaborate closely with local partners to enhance broadband connectivity in these communities.

Microsoft recognises that technological infrastructure alone will not ensure sustainable digital transformation in Nigeria over the next three years and has committed to upskilling five million people in the country.

To assist in achieving this goal, 1,700 trainers will deliver blended online and in-person training to the country's youth and government employees.

Additionally, the government will be provided with the tools necessary to digitally transform skill development, education, and employment methods to connect job seekers with the right employers. Hopefully, over 27,000 new digital jobs will be created over the next three years by doing so.

“We believe in Nigeria's future and are excited to expand our investments as a company,” says Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, strengthen the Nigerian technology ecosystem, and use technology to preserve the best of the past while propelling us forward.”

"However, this is not something we can accomplish on our own. We will equip master trainers and are committed to creating thousands of new jobs in conjunction with them."

The final pillar, digital transformation, will be comprised of two initiatives initially. The first will address corruption, a major global issue that results in annual economic losses of $3.6 trillion.

Microsoft will collaborate with local partners to support the design and implementation of cloud-based tools to bolster the government's anti-corruption efforts.

Microsoft will collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help identify and highlight potential risks and corruption.

The second initiative will help safeguard Nigeria's rich cultural heritage by deploying artificial intelligence tools to safeguard these treasures for future generations. Microsoft will support the National Institute of Cultural Orientation's efforts to preserve and revitalise Nigeria's three major indigenous languages: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, through a newly formed partnership.

“This is one of my favorite global projects. It makes use of the most advanced technology available in the twenty-first century to nurture and preserve the culture that has been so vital to humanity for centuries,” Smith concludes.

A joint working committee will oversee these investments and update the announced programs and any new ones that may be added.


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