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Nigeria’s IT development and regulatory agency, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has set up a Volunteers Expert Groups (VEGs) for the National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS) aiming to position Nigeria as one of global digital talent factories capable of filling the 85 million talent deficit as predicted by Korn Ferry in his report: “The $8.5 Trillion Talent Shortage by 2030.”

The VEGs was inaugurated virtually this week by the Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi who described the event as a “momentous milestone in our efforts to harmoniously engage with vibrant and talented experts across different IT domains.”

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He said the VEGs is aimed at co-creating the NDSS to come-up with a comprehensive strategy for setting up standards and developing digital literacy & skills in the country; build professionals as well as develop different IT proficiency levels.

The NITDA boss reiterated that Nigeria has four competitive advantages of becoming an ideal nation to take up global unfilled job opportunities as the country has the largest population of youths in the world.

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His words: “The Nigerian government recognizes the importance of digital skills and it is supporting it through its investment on capacity building, implementation of policies that promote digital inclusion and creation of an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Adding: “Nigerians are talented, ambitious and willing to learn and connect to the global value chain adding that the Nigerian digital economy is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with an annual growth rate of 15 percent. This high growth rate suggests that there are ample opportunities to benefit from it.”

He asserted that the National Digital Skills and Strategy (NDSS) will focus on balancing the gaps between the digital skills supply pipeline and in-demand skill sets required for the future of work.

Earlier,  the acting Director, Digital Literacy and Capacity Building Department, Dr. Amina Sambo stated that “there was an open call application for Nigerians both at home and abroad to apply for the NDSS VEG and a rigorous screening process was used to identify key people who are experts and that would be able to add value into the strategy.”

Adding, that “these selected persons have built expertise within their own different ecosystems or workgroup either in building their skills or in skills of developing strategies or building ecosystems specifically in the technology and innovation ecosystem.”

She said the VEG has been grouped into four clusters namely; digital literacy cluster, digital capacity cluster, IT professional cluster and monitoring and evaluation, funding and partnership cluster with each cluster consists of lead, deputy lead and members.

According to her, the digital literacy cluster focuses on basic foundation, the digital capacity focuses on IT or non-IT professional skills, IT professional cluster focuses on technological skills such as coding and non-coding skills and the final cluster which is the monitoring and evaluation, funding and partnership cluster work with all the other three clusters by monitoring and evaluating the initiatives, the policies and the incentives within the documents as well as seeks for fund and partnership.

Mr. Niran Oyekale from Commit Consult Ltd and lead, digital literacy cluster, said  NITDA was changing the narrative of the digital space.

He said “it is during your tenure as the DG NITDA that Nigeria is actually going to benefit from a strategic plan to empower Nigerians and make Nigeria very comfortable, competent and confident to move smoothly into the digital space.”

Also, Mr. Ifeanyi Emmanuel Okafor from Teeside University and lead, the IT Professional Cluster assured that “the dream is a wonderful one and it will go down as one of the greatest creations in the history of our country.”

Mr. Charles Emembolu from Techquest Stem Academy and lead, Digital Capacity Building Cluster, lauded NITDA for its efforts at working with Nigerian Startups towards the achievement of the National Digital Skill Scheme.

The lead, Monitoring and Evaluation, Funding and Partnership cluster, Mr. Sam Emmanuel of Semicolon, stressed the importance of digital skill strategy. He also described monitoring and evaluation, funding and partnership as a critical part of the strategy

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