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  The realities of the pandemic and extended lockdown are already making business owners redraw their business strategies. Many are now considering approaching the market via online channels and solutions providers are helping these businesses achieve their aim with the assistance of tech.
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The extended lockdowns particularly disrupted supply chains, shrunk demand and supply of some item categories, squeezed revenue for mostly non-tech companies. Therefore, using digital alternatives to augment business became a necessity for offline business survival. Culminating from the Covid-19 protocols, more people have turned towards technology – indirectly increased mobile penetration – and created more opportunities even in the middle of many other business foreclosures. Meanwhile, despite this hike in mobile penetration and smartphone adoption, a lot of African businesses/ Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) do not have the requisite skills and resources to compete in the digital business landscape the world is migrating to. And as remote work realities become more evident with the pandemic, there is an equal need to satisfy the demand for tech talent; hence the digital trainings that could fill the talent gaps in a youth populated nation like Nigeria’s emerging economy. This is why Ecobank Academy is partnering with Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub in an effort to upskill the talent base that African and Nigerian SMEs will be needing. Group Executive for Commercial Banking at Ecobank, Josephine Anan-Ankomah, stated;
“The COVID-19 pandemic has turbocharged the shift towards digital. It is essential that businesses adapt so that they are able to compete effectively in today’s rapidly changing landscape.”

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As the industry expands, the incentives attached to building digital talents in Africa have also increased. Digify Africa joined forces with Google in 2016 to build one million digital talents in Africa. Google Digital Garage introduced a free online digital skill course in the recent past. Google, Andela and Pluralsight had a scholarship training to offer staged skill training to Nigerians. For Microsoft, the partnership with Ecobank, LinkedIn and Github aligns with its commitment to building digital talent personnel that will be equipped to use Microsoft’s digital infrastructure such as Windows systems for building the future. Microsoft recently signed a partnership with the Nigerian government to train up to 500,000 youths. In essence, this engagement with Ecobank is another trial at utilising the private sector for capacity building initiatives in the tech industry. This goal was affirmed by Microsoft’s regional general manager, Ibrahim Youssry;
“Beyond the future workforce, digital talent will also support more local innovation, as developers and entrepreneurs are empowered to create locally relevant solutions that best address the challenges and needs of African countries.”
The training program which will last until 31st December will cover 10 important and most demanded areas according to LinkedIn data; Software Development; Digital Marketing; Customer Services; Project Management; Financial Analysis; Data Analysis; IT Administration; Graphic Design; IT Support/Help Desk; and Sales. Participants have the opportunity to complete these available courses through the self-paced learning model where users are able to complete the courses as it works best for them and at their own pace. Featured Image Source: People’s Daily NG
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This article was first published on 2nd August 2021


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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