By Onome Amuge
Will Stevens , the United States consul general, has assured stakeholders in the Nigerian technology industry that the U.S. government is committed to supporting programmes that provide youth with quality technological learning opportunities.
Stevens stated this while joining representatives from leading American tech companies, Nigerian technology and business leaders for the official opening of the Digital Expert Academy in Lagos.
Founded by 21st Century Technologies, the Digital Expert Academy seeks to create opportunities to train and upskill young Nigerians in artificial intelligence, digital infrastructure, machine learning, cloud services, data science, data center management among other tech fields.
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Delivering keynote remarks on the theme “Technology as an Enabler and Tool for Empowerment,” the U.S consul general highlighted the importance of tech skills to Nigeria’s future prosperity and economic competitiveness.
He also explained that the Biden Administration’s U.S. strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa aims to drive digital transformation and foster a digital ecosystem built on open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet and information and communication technology. He added that the initiative is investing in some of Nigeria’s richest resources-its young people.
“We hope that by developing local talent in tech fields, we help accelerate medium and long-term growth in Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s digital economy,” the consul general said.
Stevens’ statement further reiterated the U.S. Mission’s commitment to support Nigeria’s burgeoning tech scene and encourages the creation of the enabling environment necessary to foster a sector that contributes to a more prosperous future for all its citizens.
Also speaking at the event, Wale Ajisebutu, chairman & CEO, 21st Century Technologies Group, explained that the Digital Expert Academy will help bridge the gap between youth and employers by better connecting young people with the changing needs of the private sector and the skills needed to succeed in the digital economy.
He added that the academy will partner with leading American tech companies such as Microsoft and Oracle to provide trainees with world class learning opportunities. The academy, he added, is open to youths who are at least 18 years of age with a minimum of a high school diploma.