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Google announced on Wednesday that it will be bringing its Digital Skills program to businesspeople in Aba. The South Eastern city’s commercial sector is being targeted as part of the tech giant’s ongoing effort to raise the IT proficiency of people across the continent.

Google’s Head of Brand and Reputation for Sub Saharan Africa, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, disclosed this plan at the unveiling of the initiative in Aba. She said that the company was seeking to expose the new opportunities opened up by digital media to businesses, job seekers, students, and whole communities.

“We are doing this because we believe more needs to be done to empower young Africans to succeed in the digital world,” she explained.

Google Digital Skills for Africa is a program designed by Google to equip Africans with the mastery of digital tools that they might need to grow their businesses, boost their employability, and navigate a world that now relies very heavily on digital technology.

It was launched in 2016 with an initial aim to reach a million people on the continent with its benefits in one year. In 2017, the program was extended by another five years, with an expanded target population of 10 million persons.

While its popularity has grown especially with some of Nigeria’s young tech-savvy urbanites, it has remained largely unknown outside of those circles. Taking it directly to local small businesses in places like Aba may help increase the public’s awareness of the program and the gains to be derived from it.

Aderemi-Makinde said that 3 million people in 29 African countries had already acquired digital skills through Google’s training program, either via one-on-one sessions or through online courses.

Officials of the Abia state government have expressed enthusiasm about the coming of the program to the state’s commercial nerve centre. The State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, noted that it could help the city’s many businesses access global markets. He also spoke of the government’s hope that it would improve the employment prospects of young people in the state.

Aba is home to numerous manufacturing centres and trade posts. These establishments number in the tens of thousands and serve both local and international markets with a variety of products and services. The city’s business community will be attempting to leverage the skills and suite of digital tools on offer from Google to expand its reach even further.

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This article was first published on 30th June 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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