The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has rolled-out plans to empower Nigerian youths and their counterparts in some Africa countries through a youth education programme with the sum of $25 million dollars (about N9 billion) in the coming years.
The Director, IBM Venture Capital Group, Ms. Deborah Magid, stated this at the 21st Century Women and Youth in Innovation Technology themed “Turning Promises into Action” held at the UN headquarters in New York.
According to her, the event was organised by Silicon-Valley-Nigeria Economic Development in collaboration with the Global Connection for Women Foundation and UN Women, aimed to deepen participation in developmental programmes and technology for sustainable growth.
Magid explained that the essence of educating the youths would help them get the right skills training to get good jobs in the nearest future.
In her words: “We are going to spend $25 million just on education for youth to help them have the right skills training for jobs in the future,” she said.
She stressed that the $25 million investment is just for the youth, and did not include the other IBM’s investment in Nigeria and the region.
According to her, the American multinational information technology company also supports universities to fund research and develop curriculum, including making free software and computers for universities.
“We do have programmes in Nigeria. We have a fairly large office in Lagos and smaller office in Abuja and we have a lot of clients in Nigeria and we work throughout West Africa from these offices.
“We have about 120 employees in those offices in Nigerian they do all kinds of work – they work with customers, they do services, they develop technology and they also work with the universities, some of the government ministries.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Founder/CEO Global Connection for Women, Dr. Lillian Ajayi-Ore, stressed the need for global technology giants to invest in manpower development in Nigeria and across Africa.
“I think the biggest area for these companies to invest is manpower if they intend to reap, and I will speak for Nigeria and part of Africa.
“We are an English country, so in terms of resources, this is an opportunity to employ more of the manpower and it will be cheaper to do so rather than bringing them from America.
“So I think the Return on Investment for this organisation is that it’s cheaper for them to employ people in Nigeria and other African countries”.
Other speakers at the event were Dr Brenda Akpan, Head of Department, Theatre and Media Studies, University of Calabar; Ms Jennifer Neumaier, Head of LinkedIn Learning Solutions; and Dr Judy Kuriansky from UN Department of Public Information.
The conference was held to meet the mandate of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and the speakers stressed the need to advance the course of youth and women in innovation and technology.