Professor Isa Pantami
Professor Isa Pantami

Google Assures Pantami Of Support For Nigeria’s Digital Economy

TECHDIGEST – Internet giant Google has assured Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, of its commitment to supporting the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.

Led by the Director of Google West Africa, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, the Google team was in Abuja this week to further explore how to strengthen Nigeria’s digital economy.

Ehimuan-Chiazor, who commended Pantami for his efforts at promoting Nigeria’s digital economy in a way that has increased its impact across sectors, said Google’s Office in Lagos serves all the countries in the West African sub-region.

She reaffirmed Google’s commitment to invest $1billion in Africa over the next five years, which includes funding for the Equiano subsea cable.

The Equiano cable is expected to enable a five-fold increase in average Internet speeds in Nigeria and create 1.6 million jobs.

The Equiano sea cable derived its name from the 16th century epical travels of Olaudah Equiano, a historical figure of Nigerian extraction.

The 21st century Equiano undersea cable has been launched in nearby Togo to begin its phased landing across Africa.

According to Ehimuan-Chiazor, Nigeria is a major landing point for the cable and the launch of this major milestone is expected to take place in April 2022.

She said Google remained committed to supporting the tech ecosystem in Nigeria through skills development programs and grants. For example, the Google Startup Accelerator program has benefited 82 startups, including some of the startups that are now the leading unicorns in Africa.

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According to her. about six 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.

Pantami while commending Google for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), affirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has unwavering commitment to improving Nigeria’s ease of doing business.

He assured that Nigeria will continue to promote regulations that support, rather than stifle, development and innovation.