Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has partnered with a German technical association to launch a training program to address the skill deficit facing Nigeria’s economy.
The partnership between the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA) and its Foundation for Young Talents in Mechanical Engineering will endow youths with transferable technical skills that will prepare them for the workforce and help them become more grounded in their fields.
This Day Live quoted Dangote as saying that the initiative entailed a €7-million ($8.5 million) investment. German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Muller added that Germany also supported the initiative with €3.6 million ($4.5 million), and that the ministry will not hesitate to collaborate with the program.
Dangote also said at the launch ceremony that a sizable percentage of the investment went toward purchasing specialized equipment from Germany. The equipment has already been shipped and installed at five workshops that were purpose-built for the economic empowerment program at the Dangote Academy in Obajana in Kogi State.
The billionaire plans to replicate this novel initiative in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.
“The trainees that successfully pass through the full vocational training will be prepared as well-rounded professionals. In addition to the technical training, they will also get personal effectiveness training of the same quality as our staff,” Dangote said.
A memorandum of understanding establishing the partnership was signed between Dangote and VDMA in 2007.
Former VDMA President Reinhold Fostge said: “This program is to raise the skill level of workers and make the youth employable…our vision in VDMA is that, in future, we should be able to exchange highly skilled professionals between Nigeria and Germany and as a matter of fact, I have no objection to inviting Nigerian specialists to help me in Germany and vice versa.”