- Country of destination: Lithuania
- Country of origin: Nigeria
- Sectors: Information and Communications Technology
- Skill level: High
- Timeline: January 1, 2019 - December 30, 2021
- Number of beneficiaries: 30
The Digital Explorers program aimed to connect the vibrant ICT markets of Nigeria and Lithuania by providing Nigerian ICT specialists with career advancement opportunities through employment or traineeships in Lithuanian information technology (IT) companies while addressing talent shortages in the Lithuanian ICT sector. The program facilitated institutional knowledge exchange, with a focus on FinTech regulation and ecosystem building.
Why was it started?
The program, financed by the European Commission Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs, was at the forefront of a new push by the European Union (EU) to create new legal pathways between Europe and Africa. It aimed to foster sustainable economic growth and realize the untapped potential of young people in Africa with a talent for ICT. The pilot program answered calls from EU institutions to empower the private sector to contribute to shaping cooperation between Africa and Europe by encouraging IT firms in Lithuania to build connections with Africa’s largest market.
How did it work?
The program placed young Nigerian ICT specialists in paid traineeship or employment for 6–12 months at Lithuanian tech companies. It provided them with technical training and individual support in personal growth and development. Before joining the companies, participants underwent workplace awareness training, and the companies took part in diversity management training to prepare for onboarding the Nigerian specialists. For participants returning to Nigeria, the program team provided support and counselling to help them find employment in Nigeria.
What impact did it have?
In 2019, the project transitioned into its second phase, which focused on an all-female track in which up to 15 Nigerian women will be trained to work at six-month placements in Lithuania. Overall, 30 “Digital Explorers” were recruited, trained, and hired in Lithuania. Additionally, the program is credited with facilitating the opening of two Lithuanian visa centers in Abuja and Lagos and the opening of a TeleSoftas branch in Nigeria.