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Microsoft links African Development Bank, FG to launch Digital Nigeria eLearning platform

By Juliet Umeh

The African Development Bank, AFDB, in partnership with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and Microsoft, today launched the Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform, an online tool to provide highly in-demand digital skills to Nigerian youth, irrespective of their location.

According to AFDB, the new platform is a key component of the digital Nigeria programme which aims to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.
The bank explained that the programme is in alignment with it’s strategic agenda to create 25 million jobs in agriculture, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other key sectors by 2025, and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills.

It said: “The programme will leverage the framework of the Bank’s Coding for Employment programme (supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft), which aims to deliver demand-driven, agile and collaborative skills to support African youth to become innovative players in the digital economy, while building synergies between the public and the private sector to create nine million jobs over a 10 year period.

“The Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform teaches technical courses such as web development, content creation, data science, among others.
“The platform also leverages gamification such as Minecraft to teach problem solving, collaboration, creative thinking and fundamental coding.
“The platform will be constantly updated with new courses in respond to market demands, within the country and will leverage further partnerships to provide relevant certified training content,” it explained.

Content on the platform is accessible via a learning portal as well as a mobile app which is available on the Playstore.
AFDB said the platform is adapted to operate effectively in locations with low-internet connectivity or bandwidth. Also, learners are also able to download the courses for offline access through the mobile app, with each course duly compressed to reduce download cost and time.

And it supports personalized learning at scale through its affordable, easy-to-navigate, secured and private interface. Again learners can download certificates after they complete their courses.
Representing the Bank at the launch event, the Senior Director for the Nigeria Country Department, Mr. Ebrima Faal said: “No one could have predicted that a significant disruption of another kind would affect us all in the way that the COVID-19 pandemic does today.

The impact on our individual lives and on the survival of our companies, groups of people who are connected through a common purpose, is enormous.
“This new normal has also accelerated the demand for digital services and fourth industrial revolution technologies across all sectors. From Artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media communication, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and so much more – the world has undergone a massive disruption.

‘The African Development Bank is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to realize a fully integrated digital agenda,” Faal said.
In his address, the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said, “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”
Also speaking, Middle East & Africa Director for Microsoft Philanthropies Ms. Ghada Khalifa, stated that, “Microsoft Philanthropies is committed to creating inclusive economic opportunities in light of the economic crisis created by COVID-19.

We are investing in building the capacity of five million African youth by 2025, and excited about our collaboration with the African Development Bank and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria with the launch of the Digital Nigeria platform to provide Nigerians with access to digital skills to meet the demand of the job market,” Khalifa said.

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