Over 1 million Nigerians have applied to join the inaugural cohort of the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT), the government has announced.
Bosun Tijani, the country’s Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, recently revealed the numbers on X. The ministry is onboarding all the applicants onto the fellow platform, where they get to participate in an “Intro to AI” course.
Only 30,000 applicants will be selected to participate in the first cohort in the government’s 1%-10%-100% approach. The second cohort will involve 300,000 participants, while the third will target hitting the 3 million-mark.
“It is reassuring to see many of them complete the course within hours. We are onto something, and I am excited watching it all unravel,” stated the minister.
The 3MTT is part of Nigeria’s efforts to position the country as a digital and technical talent leader. It forms an integral part of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda. It aims to produce over 3 million technically proficient graduates within four years in AI, data science, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and other emerging fields.
The government is working with the private sector on the initiative. This includes ₦1 billion ($1.25 million) funding from IHS Towers, the largest telecom infrastructure provider in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The funding will cater to the salaries of community managers nationally for the next three years.
The goal is for Nigeria to “achieve our objective of becoming a net exporter of talent and significantly grow our digital economy,” says Tijani.
Nigeria continues to invest heavily in digital empowerment for its youth under President Tinubu, who took over in May.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been a critical cog in this wheel. Under the stewardship of Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the agency is leading several initiatives to educate and upskill Nigerians on digital skills, including by leading the execution of the 3MTT project.
“We have an ambitious target to have 95% digital literacy by 2030,” Kashifu told CoinGeek in 2022.
The government also aims to make Nigeria an AI hub. The country announced it would issue $290,000 in grants to 45 local startups developing AI products in October.
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