Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has expressed the willingness of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to partner with the Republic of Ireland in the areas of agriculture, vocational education and ICT.
The FCT Minister stated this when he received the Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Peter Ryan, in his office in Abuja on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, on a courtesy visit to the FCTA.
The Minister stated that the FCT Administration would like to leverage the very strong ties between Nigeria and the Republic of Ireland to collaborate in those areas to grow the economy of the FCT.
On ICT, Barrister Wike noted that the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the creation of tech jobs for the youths as one of its major objectives and said that the FCT intends to provide opportunities for the youths in the digital economy so as to reduce unemployment.
According to the FCT Minister, “We think that we would be interested in partnering with companies in Ireland where we can build ICT hubs for the interest of the youths, so as to reduce the level of unemployment. Again, education is key for us, particularly vocational and skilled education, where our youths can acquire some skills in particular areas.”
The Minister also noted that agriculture is very important to the economy of the FCT, which has very vast arable land. He said the FCT Administration will be very happy to partner with companies in Ireland to introduce technology-based agriculture in the FCT, leveraging the expertise in Ireland, adding that all partnerships will be for the mutual benefit of both Ireland and the FCT.
Responding, the Irish Ambassador informed the FCT Minister that his country has the same mission and similar outlook as the FCT Administration, and assured that he will be ready to connect the FCT Administration to expert teams in Ireland for further discussions.
He explained that Ireland has a cultural hub in its largest chamber of commerce, known as the Dublin Smart City where collaboration exists between all the different partners in the city in the areas of business.
He said the cultural footprint of Ireland is one of the reasons why the country has become so attractive to overseas investors, and assured the FCT Minister that he will also be ready to connect the FCT and its policy makers to the consortium of experts.
On vocational education, the ambassador stated that the head of its largest vocational education provider will be in Abuja in the second week of December and would be at the FCT Minister’s disposal for talks.
The Ambassador also suggested that opportunities also exist for collaboration to promote indigenous tech startups in Abuja.
He said, “A lot of the startups in Dublin are spinouts of the big technology players like Google and Meta. We work closely with them as indigenous startups to create jobs for young people and as you know, a lot of these people are geography neutral.
“They just want talented young people and they want an environment where they can flourish. We can see the potential for it in Abuja. Maybe there is one or two little steps we could take together to demonstrate practical things”, he added
Also present during the visit were the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and PPP, Mr. Charles Elechi, Secretary, Legal Services, Barr. Salman Dako, the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Legal and Multilateral Matters, Barrister Benedict Dauda as well as senior officials of the Embassy.