A multinational technology company, Google, has revealed its commitment to invest $1billion in Africa over the next 5 years, from October 2021.
This was revealed by the director, Google West Africa, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, when she led a team on a courtesy call on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami in his office in Abuja. The team visited Pantami to give him an update on the activities of Google in Nigeria and affirm its commitment to supporting the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
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.
Ehimuan-Chiazor also informed Pantami that Google’s office in Lagos serves all the countries in the West African sub-region and has invested severally, including in the ‘Equiano’ subsea cable, which is the latest.
The ‘Equiano’ cable is expected to enable a five-fold increase in average Internet speed in Nigeria and create 1.6million jobs. The name ‘Equiano’, inspired by a Nigerian, is being launched as it lands at different points on the continent as construction progresses. According to the director, Nigeria is a major landing point for the cable and the launch of this major milestone is expected to take place in April 2022.
A statement by the minister’s technical assistant, research and development, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said the director also informed the minister of Google’s support for the tech ecosystem in Nigeria through skills development programmes and grants.
“For example, the Google Startup Accelerator programme has benefited 82 startups, some of who 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 Programme and provision has been made for cash and non-cash grants of over $100 million,” it added.
Pantami commended Google for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. He reminded them of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari towards improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Also, he assured Google of the Federal Government’s continuous promotion of regulations that support development and innovation.