Nigeria Launches Digital Literacy Framework To Boost MSMEs

By Mimidoo Patrick

The Federal Government on Friday, launched the National Digital Literacy Framework to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

It was gathered that the move was towards making Nigeria a leading global economy.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Williams Alo said this at the official launch and signing ceremony in Abuja.

The Perm Sec said that the framework would enable Nigerians to own businesses without necessarily owning an office or a workshop.

Alo said: “Africa was just a consumer of goods and services in the first and second industrial revolutions and in this third and fourth industrial revolutions driven by internet, Nigeria must create digital literates, disrupt traditional industries and become a leading global digital economy.

“The first and second industrial revolutions where of scientific discovery, standardisation, mass production and industrilisation.

“The Africa continent participated as consumers of services and products by Europe and the United States of America.

“The advent of digital technologies and the internet during the era of the third and fourth industrial revolutions has presented a unique opportunity for Africa to be at the forefront of global revolution by leveraging on its human resources and innovative use of digital technologies to disrupt traditional industries and address some of the biggest global challenges.

“Nigeria has an advantage far above many other countries, that if we utilise our abundant human resources of our youths that constitute about 75% of the population of our country, then we have places to go.

“We can overtake countries like India in the nearest future. Our youthful population is an advantage, especially embracing digitalisation, which is the main thing today.”

The Perm Sec said that the Federal Government of Nigeria was championing a paradigm shift in the country leveraging on technology to give preference and priority to proven skills over paper qualifications, particularly digital skills, in line with the digital literacy and skills of the National Digital Economy.

He said that achieving Digital transformation would take a collective commitment by all stakeholders to massively scale up resources dedicated to building the foundation that would driving digital economy.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Abdullahi said the Indian population in the US is 1% but the Indian population in the Silicon Valley workforce is 6%.

He said: “So, you can see how India achieved this was through digital literacy framework.

“Because the framework is just beyond this document we are going to sign today.

“It is going to be a paradigm shift in everything we do. So, it is going to set the stage for us to review all our curriculum from the kindergarten to Universities.

“We have more advantage competitive advantage over the India in terms of our young population, the English speaking people, our geographic location, and many more.”

On the advantage of the digital literacy framework he said: “Under objectives, we have the universal access that means every Nigerian should have access to digital literacy. And also, it will help us to develop skills.”

The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya, spoke on the impact of digital literacy on the nation’s economy.

He said: “And you know we have a large population of youths so it’s an advantage for us.

“If you don’t take advantage of this, the world will leave us behind so for any economy to develop now, we have to take advantage of digital literacy.”

He said business people who are not literates will be carried along and it will be included in school curricular.

He said: “We have to play a lot of advocacy role and like I said, this is something that will come in our curriculum even when we go back there to the market place to talk to the people we would find a way to educate them.

“You don’t know virtually everybody uses phone so you just need basic knowledge to be able to take advantage of digital literacy and we are committed to working with NITDA on this”.

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