Facebook has announced a new nationwide initiative in Nigeria to further cement its commitment and investment in the country, and across the continent.
Incorporating a series of high profile partnerships, training programmes and a physical space that will serve as a center for learning and skills development, this set of initiatives is aimed at helping to develop and nurture communities, including small businesses, the tech and start-up ecosystem, youths and creatives.
The U.S. social media company said the center would host an “incubator program” to help develop technology start-ups, while it will also train 50,000 Nigerians in digital skills.
“In Nigeria, more than 22 million people use Facebook every month and 87% of SMEs say that when they hire, digital skills are more important than where an applicant went to school. This demonstrates that the power of digital skills to aid economic growth and development has never been more important”, commented Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa.
The training programmes will include:
Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Digital (in partnership with the Fate Foundation) – a four-week intensive programme for entrepreneurs across Nigeria. This will be offered throughout the year in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu
Jobs for Youth: Coding for Employment – a training programme to develop Nigeria’s next generation of coders – designed to upskill developers and prepare them for employment
Boost your Business – designed for small, medium sized businesses owners, teaching the fundamentals of digital marketing for business growth, with the goal to help business owners better understand their brand, audience and how to best reach and service them online
Creative Entrepreneurship Training – specialised training designed specifically for creatives, including photographers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, bloggers and other creative content creators
Online Safety + Digital Literacy Training in Schools and Universities – featuring a series of online safety and digital literacy courses for secondary school and university students.
Facebook said the training would be offered in cities including the capital, Abuja, Port Harcourt in the south, Calabar in the southeast and Kaduna in the north.
Last year Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited technology companies in Lagos and his charitable foundation provided $24 million to Andela, which trains developers.