Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has lauded Microsoft’s interest in offering to support the efforts of the Federal Government specifically in the Digital Transformation pillar of the Economic Sustainability Plan.
Global technology giants including Google Inc., HUAWEI, and top social networking company, Facebook, another international tech heavyweight, Microsoft Corporation, had disclosed plans to partner with the Federal Government for the benefits of the Nigerian people, especially young people.
Speaking on the need to constantly engage with the youths, the Vice President noted rhe country will use technology to engage our youths & address issues affecting our people
He also added that that Nigeria’s case is peculiar given that the youths constitute a larger percentage of the country’s population hence the need for all stakeholders to pay more attention to that demography.
“It seems to me that there is just a wave of general anger around the world and people are generally impatient. Impatient with government, impatient with practically all of the formal structures there are.
“But I am open and happy to hear what views there might be on trying to engage and engage even more with young people (and in our case, that is 70% of our population, if not more). So, we are really talking not just about the youth population but the Nigerian populace because that is the majority.
“So, whatever it is that we are able to deploy to be more inclusive, to engage even more, is really a solution for the entire populace as opposed to a solution for just a segment of our population especially given the fact that young people constitute 70% or even more.”
Speaking on the government efforts in developing the technology space especially in boosting viable sectors of the economy, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “we have a digital innovation initiative which we hope will be the foundation for doing far more in the digital space than we are doing at the moment.”
In the same vein, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized that “just looking at agriculture, this is obviously something that we’ve spent quite a bit of time and resources on especially in the past few years. We have also seen the development of a good number of agric-tech type companies and fin-techs that are also working in the agric sector.
“So, it’s a whole load of innovation around the agric tech space, especially in the past few years. So, I think we really are up for programmes that will support these sorts of agric-tech initiatives”.
Referring to the partnership with Microsoft, especially the establishment of the development centre, the Vice President said “I have always wondered how Microsoft can just be a much more effective partner with us as a country.
“Beginning with the African Development Centre which I think is excellent, I think it shows the commitment of Microsoft in developing the digital centre here in Nigeria.
“And it also shows the company’s confidence in the sort of talents that we have and the commitment of government to ensuring that we develop that talent in the best possible ways that we can.”
Assuring investors in the Nigerian economy of the commitment of the Buhari administration in creating the right environment for businesses to thrive, the Vice President said “we are all working to create the right environment for innovation and creativity.
“That remains an issue that we are dealing with on a daily basis, and I think that the challenges are the challenges of the sort that we are going to have to be dealing with (in my view) even in the coming years.”
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Brad Smith, President Microsoft Corporation, noted that his company’s vision for investment in Nigeria was one that would lead to the creation of Africa’s most viable technology ecosystem.
Mr Smith said the company’s investment in Nigeria is a demonstration of its enthusiasm about the digital transformation ongoing in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
He proposed a 90-day timeline for stakeholders on the government side and from Microsoft, to iron out details of the various areas of collaboration.