The Nigerian government, in collaboration with Wema Bank, is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative that promises to bridge the digital divide and empower the country's youth with essential skills to compete favorably in the emerging tech economy. This was agreed upon during a meeting between representatives of the bank and Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja, aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to creating more digital jobs for young Nigerians. The FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNovation Hubs are set to revolutionize the landscape of innovation, learning, and growth across the nation.
The partnership aims to establish digital and skill innovation hubs in states across Nigeria. With an ambitious target of empowering one million young individuals with digital and relevant skills, this initiative couldn't have come at a better time. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology and innovation, the need to equip the youth with the tools to navigate this digital era is paramount.
According to Moruf Oseni, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank, the innovative initiative is designed to revolutionize how young entrepreneurs and employees interact with technology, entrepreneurship, and skill development. “The Digital & SkillNovation Hub reflects our dedication to fostering a thriving ecosystem that empowers Tech-Savvy Youth Entrepreneurs, Youth Entrepreneurs by Nature, and Young Employees, driving economic growth and sustainable progress across the nation. This centralized platform will integrate cutting-edge digital tools, technologies, and resources to streamline digital activities, collaboration, and information sharing,” adds Oseni.
The Digital and SkillNovation Hubs are not just physical spaces; they represent a commitment to creating a thriving ecosystem that nurtures young entrepreneurs and employees alike. The hubs will serve as centralized platforms, integrating cutting-edge digital tools, technologies, and resources. This holistic approach will streamline digital activities, foster collaboration, and facilitate the sharing of vital information.
The impact of this initiative is set to be far-reaching. The first hubs are slated to open in Lagos and Borno States, with additional hubs planned for Katsina, Cross River, Anambra, Oyo, and Kano states, according to a statement from the office of the Vice President. These hubs will provide crucial financial solutions, training, and access to strategic partnerships, ensuring that young employees are poised to become invaluable assets to Nigeria's workforce.
FG and Wema to Bridge Digital Divide with SkillNovation Hubs
One of the remarkable aspects of the FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNovation Hubs is their focus on addressing the digital divide on multiple fronts. The initiative targets a wide range of skills, from software engineering and product management to business analysis, cloud computing, and product design. This comprehensive approach ensures that young adults especially those deployed through the NYSC are equipped not only with technical skills but also with a deep understanding of the digital landscape.
In addition to skill development, the hubs will serve as fertile ground for mentorship and growth. With plans to mentor 500,000 SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) across Nigeria, the initiative showcases a commitment to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Coaches will also play a vital role, providing training and upskilling to drive business growth and success.
Crucially, this innovative partnership is backed by a substantial financial commitment. A collaborative arrangement between the Federal Government and Wema Bank will allocate N500 million to support SMEs and technopreneurs. This injection of funds will undoubtedly fuel the growth of promising startups and tech-driven enterprises, further contributing to Nigeria's economic development.
As the world evolves at an unprecedented pace, the FGN/ALAT Digital and SkillNovation Hubs are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping Nigeria's digital future. By empowering young adults with the skills they need to thrive in a digital world, this partnership between the federal government and Wema Bank is a testament to their shared commitment to progress and innovation. The stage is set for a brighter, more digitally inclusive Nigeria, where the youth are not just bystanders but active participants in the digital revolution.