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The Nigerian government and the Chinese IT giant Huawei have officially begun the implementation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide ICT skills to young people.

Anchored by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the MoU inked the establishment of two core ICT projects in Nigeria: the Huawei ICT Academy Project and the Huawei ICT Talent Cultivation Project in line with the ministry’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for the development of digital economy in Nigeria.

Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami asked Huawei to establish a global ICT centre for the training of Nigerians and Africans while inking the MoU.

“The Nigerian government is thankful to Huawei especially looking at how the country has benefited in the CSR programs. The President of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari appreciates the work of Huawei and is encouraging Huawei to do more on the Nigerian soil since Nigeria is the largest and biggest market in Africa.

“Huawei should establish a global training centre in Nigeria to train Nigerians and other African countries on ICT,” said Pantami.

He said federal government has provided an enabling environment for international companies to invest and do business in Nigeria.

According to the minister, the government has come up with “36 initiatives to enable the ease of doing business in Nigeria, signing an executive order to address the challenges faced by International companies to provide accountability, transparency, e-govt, tax holiday, visa on arrival etc. which has moved Nigeria higher in the world ranking of ease of doing business. These are part of the administration’s determination to prioritize skills especially in the digital economy sector.”

Under the MoU, Huawei will make available its technology and trainers to help curb the rate of unemployment in Nigeria by providing jobs, experience, opportunities and ICT certifications to students each year so as to increase their market competitiveness.

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According to the minister, the implementation of the MoU would see more than 100,000 Nigerians benefit from the initiative beyond the agreement. The skills gained by the students will enable them become entrepreneurs in the nearest future.

This partnership will enable the development of over 300 ICT academies in top-rated universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria. At least 10,000 university students from reputable universities will be trained each year with a total of 30,000 students in three years. This would include trainings, competitions and other activities incidental to the operation of the ICT Academy.

According to the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, who was present at the event: “I salute the Minister’s support in making Nigeria an outstanding country in ICT because the digital economy develops a country and develops young talents. The Chinese embassy would continue to support the corporation to make a difference. We would sustain this initiative and ensure the University, Minister and Students testify to the initiative.”

Ambassador Jianchun, who is China’s 14th ambassador to Nigeria, highlighted nine other programmes of Africa-China Cooperation over the next three years which will further strengthen Africa-China practical cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win result.

They include programmes in medical and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and peace and security.

For Mr. Trevor Liu, the Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, Huawei is encouraged to do business in Nigeria because of the enabling environment.

His words: “Our vision and mission in Huawei have been to bring digital technology to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei has pushed this vision through many channels.

“The Digital Innovation Program is being implemented today.  I want to assure you that we are working with the relevant authorities in Nigeria, for example the Ministry of Agriculture to provide food for people.

“The Digital Innovation Program is one of our four Major ICT Talent cultivation initiatives, They are Seeds for the Future Program, Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei ICT Competition, and The Job Fair. This is because we strongly believe that digital transformation is about talents, and not all about technology”

Vice Chancellor of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, Professor Muhammad Ahmad Abdulazeez, applauded Huawei for enhancing the skills of students in ICT.

Also, The Registrar Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State, Brig. Gen. S.S Ibrahim, said “the cooperation between Huawei and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy is good for the country in human capacity development in the area of ICT. The partnership is a sure foundation and strategy for the development of ICT and human capacity.”

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