The federal government, yesterday, gave the assurance that it would partner premier internet provider, Google, in the Google's Next Billion users plan intended to ensure greater digital access in Nigeria and around the world. 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 roadshow he is leading to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The proposal is in line with the federal government's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), especially its strategy to diversify the economy by making technology an important foreign exchange earner. A release issued by Mr Laolu Akande, the Vice President's Spokesman said that Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed the Vice President to the meeting held at Googleplex in California, U.S.
The Vice President also said the Federal Government would partner Google in the area of localisation of content and content creation to make content cheaper and more accessible to Nigerians.
Osinbajo also discussed other areas for partnership with Google, including the establishment of Google Artificial Intelligence Centres in Institutions of Higher Learning in Nigeria.
Another is the establishment of a Youtube Creator space to support Nigeria's digital content producers and enable them to make money with their craft leveraging on Youtube and Google Tools.
Other areas discussed include the expansion of Google's Launchpad Accelerator Programme in Africa.
According to Akande, Google 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.
For Nigeria, the Google Next Billion Users plan is expected to provoke innovation on a large scale.
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 areas include: the prominent use of smartphones to access the Internet, an instinct for universal computing, and a demand for localized content.
The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users, as the global technology company has noted.
It is reckoned that the latest generation of internet users will come online on smartphones in places such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria.
The country's interest is in line with its ERGP plans and 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 federal overnment's effort of ensuring a skilled work force, it is partnering 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," he said.
Akande recalled that an 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 practitioners.
At the meeting held yestderday in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with scores of Nigerians working with Google.
He later met with 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 Nigerians in the Diaspora.