Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, the Director, Google West Africa has disclosed Google’s support for the tech ecosystem in Nigeria supporting the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
Mrs. Ehimuan-Chiazor, stated this when she led the Google West Africa team to visit the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami in his office on Thursday, to give him an update on the activities of Google in Nigeria and affirm the Google’s support for the tech ecosystem Nigeria through skills development programs and grants.
The Director commended the Minister for his efforts that have promoted Nigeria’s Digital Economy and increased its impact on all sectors of the economy.
Mrs Ehimuan-Chiazor also informed the Minister that Google’s Office in Lagos serves all the countries in the West African sub-region.
She updated the Minister on Google’s commitment to invest $1billion in Africa over the next 5 years, from October 2021. The investment includes funding for the Equiano subsea cable, according to the Director.
“The Equiano cable is expected to enable a five-fold increase in average Internet speeds in Nigeria and create 1.6million jobs. Equiano, whose name was inspired by a Nigerian, is being launched as it lands at different points on the continent, much like a road construction that is launched as construction progresses”.
She added that Nigeria is a major landing point for the cable and the launch of this major milestone is expected to take place in April 2022.
For example, the Google Startup Accelerator program has benefited 82 startups, including some of the startups that are now the leading unicorns in Africa.
About 6 million Nigerians have also benefited from other digital skills initiatives and the target is to reach 10 million Nigerians. About 30,000 citizens have participated in the Africa Developer Program and provision has been made for cash and non-cash grants of over $100 million.
Responding, Pantami commended Google for their activities in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and reminded them of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, towards improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
The Minister also assured Google that the Federal Government will continue to promote regulations that support, rather than stifle, development and innovation.