The United Kingdom is training disadvantaged groups across rural communities in Nigeria to compete with their urban counterparts in the digital economy.
Through its Prosperity Fund Digital Access Programme, the UK, working with a Nigerian non-governmental organization – Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev) has trained 1,338 people so far, in the “Basic Digital Literacy for Rural Clusters”.
Of the number, 50% are vulnerable women and girls. 30% are People Living with disability and 20% are other vulnerable groups. 60% of the total beneficiaries are in age groups 8-18 years and 45-65years.
Aggregated data indicates that less than 30% of the beneficiaries are married and 7 of every 10 are currently pursuing an educational career. The programme aims to spark their interests in advanced digital skills possibly careers in technology.
According to findings, digital nomads are among top earning specialists in the world, with an average salary of 80,000-100,000USD a month, an equivalence of N32,800,000 – N42,000,000. Only Senators earn that high in Nigeria outside the digital world, and are considered to be the most paid workers, earning more than the United States President.
The Basic Digital Literacy program targets ten Northern Nigerian states for a start, but hopes to gradually expand, to enhance “Pandemic Resilience,” Officials say. This is part of Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020-2030) Vision to transform the country into a leading digital economy, providing a better quality of life for all Nigerians in 10 years, it was learnt.
The programme coincided with the Rural Technology Outreach launched in 2020 by Plateau, one of the benefitting States in the North Central region. The Plateau Program sought to deepen digital education in the State for job creation. The UK program came as added advantage.
According to the Director General of the Plateau Information and Communication Technology Development Agency, Mr. David Daser, “Each time we talk about automation in schools, hospitals, e-commerce and all other IT innovations we forget about inequality”. The basic digital literacy program, Daser said will close any digital divide, enable inclusive digital access for all and build community resilience to current and future pandemics for digitally-excluded or underserved groups.
The Curriculum included computing device and internet usage, digital information handling, online communication, online safety, virtual collaboration and exchanges.