Nigeria pledges support for Next Billion Google Users Plan

Nigeria says it will support Google's Next Billion Users Plan intended to enhance greater digital access around the world.

Government said the plan was in line its Economic Recovery and Growth, especially the strategy to diversify the economy by making technology an important forex earner.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance during a meeting with Google executives at the company's corporate headquarters in the Silicon Valley at the start of the investment road show he was leading to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Universal computing

A statement from the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande said the Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed the Vice President to the meeting held at Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc., located in California, United States.

Nigeria has been identified as one of the major countries where the latest generation of Internet users will come from, and the next billion users are said to be already changing the Internet in three key ways: the prominent use of smartphones to access the Internet, an instinct for universal computing, and a demand for localised content.

The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users, as the global technology company has noted, and it is reckoned that the latest generation of internet users will come online on smartphones in places like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria. For Nigeria, the Google Next Billion Users plan is expected to provoke innovation on an unprecedented scale, the statement reads.

The Vice President said government would partner with Google in the area of localisation of content and content creation to make content cheaper and more accessible to Nigerians.

Investments from Google

Professor Osinbajo also discussed other areas for partnership with Google, to include the establishment of Google Artificial Intelligence Centers in Institutions of Higher Learning and the establishment of a Youtube Creator space to support Nigeria's digital content producers.

This would enable the content producers make money with their craft leveraging on Youtube and Google Tools.

Other areas discussed also include the expansion of Google's Launchpad Accelerator Program in Africa. Google has also indicated interest in the policy environment in Nigeria and formulation of policy to encourage partnerships and investments from Google global with companies in Nigeria's technology space.

This is in line with Nigeria's ERGP plans, and the country's quest to become a data driven digital economy in addition to making gains in terms of the efficiency and transparency of process that a digital economy offers.

Also in the Nigerian Government's effort of ensuring a skilled work force, it is partnering with Google to increase the number of Nigerians in the global technology firm's Launchpad Accelerator, and Google I/O Developer Festivals. Also Google will offer training to Nigerians on Android and Web Development, Digital Marketing and Taking Business Online, the statement said.

According to it, the major objective of the Vice President's trip was to showcase to the world the progress and strides in the country's technology, innovation and creative space by Nigerian start-ups and entertainment industry.

At the meeting held on Tuesday in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with a number of Nigerians working with Google.

He later met a series of key technology investors and also visited the headquarters of LinkedIn where he was the Special Guest at the firm's Fireside Chat with a packed full room of Nigerians in Diaspora.

Source: Voice of Nigeria