By Chiazo Ogbolu
Sokoto – Google Nigeria on Tuesday launched its Google Digital Skills for Africa Programme in Sokoto, starting with 1,000 trainees.
The Country Director, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said at the official launch of the programme at the Digital Learning Centre of Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, that the programme would cover other communities in Nigeria.
“Google’s Digital Skills for Africa programme offers trainings to help individuals and communities develop and grow digital skills, find jobs and advance in their careers.
“The programme provides free courses, tools and in-person digital training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria as at December 2017 was 18.8 per cent (16 million people) and underemployment at 21.2 per cent.
“The web is at the heart of economic growth and Google has been supporting African businesses and individuals to succeed online.
“So in 2016, Google committed to train 1 million young Africans on Digital skills in one year and further extended to 10 million Africans in 2017,’’ she said.
Ehimuan-Chiazor said that through the grassroots programme, Google would be helping local communities in Africa to take advantage of its 10 million digital skills training initiative to grow and to improve their knowledge of digital tools.
She said that the launch of the community-focused trainings was aimed at helping more people in Nigeria acquire the skills needed to leverage online tools for growth.
Ehimuan-Chiazor said that the trainings would also give the trainees access to better employment and the skills to start their own businesses.
“Google’s investment in digital skills will support government’s efforts to enable Nigerians to gain employment by equipping them with the skills needed by today’s online and connected organisations.
“We have had hundreds of success stories from across Africa and we are looking forward to seeing more from right here in Sokoto and other communities.
“The Digital Skills for Africa programme is designed to address the growth needs for jobseekers and small business owners and has to date been rolled out to about 100 communities across a number of countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
“By engaging directly with the communities that can most benefit from the training, Google is able to identify the specific needs of these communities.
“Support their (communities) local growth activities and ensure the impact is felt not just on an individual but also at a community level,” she said.
The Executive Director, Mind the Gap, Mr Tayo Olosunde, said that the Digital Skills for Africa Programme would help build vibrant communities across the country.
“For businesses to succeed in this present digital world, there is need for data, research and digital trainings.
“This first step for digital communities is to build a vibrant community in Sokoto, that will enable the growth of the state,” Olosunde said.