Shettima Hails Google’s N1.2bn Grant for 1million Digital Jobs in Nigeria

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has commended Google over its N1.2 billion grant initiative for the Federal Government’s 1million jobs initiative.

He gave the commendation when he received some executive of the tech giant at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The vice-president observed that the announcement of a grant to support the present administration’s digital jobs initiative was worthy of emulation by other companies.

Shettima said: “Let’s think outside the box and create more job opportunities. We need to walk the talk. It is easy to pontificate but very difficult to bring all of the ideas to fruition. I want to assure you, this administration is ready to partner with you.

“Nigeria is ready for business. The president that we have now wants to leave a legacy that Nigerians will be proud of many years after.”

On the potentials of Nigeria’s young population, Shettima said, “We have a unique opportunity to harness the potentials of our huge youth population to create millions of jobs in the digital sector.

“We have more English-speaking people than many countries in Africa and beyond. We missed the agricultural age, we missed the industrial age and we are now in the knowledge-driven post-industrial age. We have the potential and a unique opportunity to fill the anticipated global talent deficit.

“Access Bank is doing a lot in terms of digital skills, training 1,000 youths in digital skills to create employment opportunities. We are working with Wema Bank, the Bank of Industry and other partners on this project. We are willing to partner with Google. We will work closely with you for the good of our nation.”

Earlier, in his remarks, the Director of Google West Africa, Mr Olumide Balogun, had said the company was excited about the Tinubu administration’s vision of creating one million digital jobs and was committing over N1.2 billion in grants to support the initiative.

He added that the company, through the programme, would provide digital skills to over 20,000 youths and women to enhance and improve their lives and livelihoods and also enable several startups to grow and create thousands of jobs in the sector.

Also speaking, Google Africa’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy, Mr Charles Murito, said the company remains committed to investing in digital infrastructure across Africa, noting that digital transformation in the continent can be the driver of the targeted technology jobs.

He spoke about the potential in Africa, noting that “Google cannot achieve its vision and objectives if it does not cover Nigeria effectively.”

The Google initiative is designed to train 20,000 Nigerian women and youth in digital skills.

The programme is facilitated through a grant from Google’s philanthropic arm to ‘Mind the Gap’ in partnership with Data Science Nigeria and the Creative Industry Initiative for Africa.

According to a statement issued by Olusola Bello, Director of Information in the office of the vice president, the initiative aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to increasing the participation of young Nigerians in the digital economy by creating 1 million digital jobs.