In a significant move to address rising unemployment and boost the tech sector, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, officially launched a groundbreaking initiative aimed at training 3 million technical talents over the next four years. The initiative, named the 3 Million Tech Talents (3MTT) program, carries the potential to align with President Bola Tinubu’s ambitious goal of creating one million tech jobs within the first two years of his administration.
With Nigeria’s unemployment rate projected to surpass 40% this year, up from 33% in 2020, the urgency to enhance technical skills and create employment opportunities in the burgeoning technology sector has never been more critical.
“I believe, based on data that LinkedIn has projected, Nigeria can fill about 23% of the current global shortage in technology talents,” Minister Tijani expressed. He envisions leveraging the country’s youthful population, constituting approximately 60% of the total, to transform Nigeria into a net exporter of technology talents globally.
The 3MTT program will follow a 1-10-100 model, starting with a prototype involving 1% of the target, or 30,000 participants, for the initial three months. The overwhelming response to the first cohort, with around 2 million applications received in less than 30 days, indicates the program’s potential impact.
The second cohort, focusing on an additional 30,000 individuals, is set to commence in February 2023. Minister Tijani emphasizes that insights gained from these initial batches will inform the scaling of the program to achieve the overarching target of training 3 million tech talents.
For the inaugural batch, selected participants will undergo training in twelve technical skills, including software development, UI/UX design, data analysis & visualization, quality assurance, product management, data science, animation, AI/machine learning, cybersecurity, game development, cloud computing, and DevOps.
Fola Olatunji-David, a member of the 3MTT team, elucidated the program’s hybrid teaching approach. Participants will engage with curated online content providers and participate in applied learning clusters within their communities. Olatunji-David emphasized the program’s commitment to practical application, stating, “We don’t want people to learn and sit down in their house alone. We want them to learn and be able to apply what they have learned,” and added that job placements will be facilitated for successful participants.
As Nigeria takes bold steps to bridge the technology skills gap and empower its youth, the 3MTT program stands as a beacon of hope for fostering a skilled and competitive workforce in the rapidly evolving global digital landscape.