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In a significant move to implement its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) pillar of “Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents,” the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has launched a comprehensive initiative to enhance digital literacy across Nigeria.

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The strategic partnership, formalized at the NYSC Secretariat in Abuja, aims to bridge the digital divide and empower the next generation to thrive in an increasingly digital world. This initiative aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda to reform the economy and deliver sustained inclusive growth by leveraging digital literacy and cultivating a pool of tech talent.

The initiative will focus on providing practical training in key areas such as software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing. It aims to reach 30 million Nigerian youths, including NYSC members, with the goal of equipping them with the skills necessary for the digital economy by 2027.

Speaking on the importance of digital literacy, NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, emphasized leveraging technology to enhance productivity and digital skills. “We have set up a team working with your team to explore how you can infuse technology into the NYSC process, experiment with emerging technologies like blockchain to secure NYSC certificates, and build digital skills capacity among Corps Members. Today we are here on a bigger mission,” he stated.

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Abdullahi cited global research predicting an 85 million talent deficit by 2030, which could result in a loss of 8.5 trillion US dollars in annual value if unaddressed. According to him, this initiative will not only enhance employability but also drive innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“We developed the National Digital Literacy Framework with an ambitious target of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2030, with a mid-term target of 70% by 2027. The framework promotes universal access to digital literacy, skills development at various proficiency levels, and workforce readiness for future digital demands,” he added.

Abdullahi further detailed the implementation plan, which includes training Corps Members during their service year and using them as digital literacy ambassadors across Nigeria. “Our target is how can we leverage your platform to deepen digital literacy. The initiative will involve onboarding Corps Members on digital platforms, providing continuous learning opportunities, and selecting ambassadors to teach digital skills in their communities.

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“We need to build a tailor-made solution that will address our challenges, harness indigenous talents to promote digital solutions, and this requires the collective efforts of the government, private sectors, and all stakeholders,” he added.

Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande Wisdom, commended the collaboration, emphasizing unity of purpose in achieving shared goals. “I appreciate this collaboration because I believe we are one family and we are working towards the same goal. I also believe that if there is anything we can give, it is our commitment. Regardless of where you come from, as long as, at the end of the day, the Nigerian youth are in a better position from where they are coming from, that is what is important,” he said.

The Minister acknowledged the dedication of all involved and expressed gratitude towards NYSC’s leadership, commitment, and availability to the cause.

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NYSC Director General, Brig Gen YD Ahmed, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative and NYSC’s readiness to fully engage. “This process for us in NYSC is a very good one, and there is no iota of doubt we are going to fully collaborate with NITDA to embrace the process,” he assured.

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