Google Lauds  Nigeria Govt  on eNigeria, Restates Commitment to Digitally Connect Citizens


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By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

 

Google, a Search Engine company, on Thursday, commended the efforts of Federal Government through
the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on effective regulations to promote e-governance in the country.

Mrs. Titi Akinsomi, the Head of Public Policy Google Nigeria made the commendation in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
at the just concluded eNigeria Conference and Exhibition organised by NITDA in Abuja.

According to her, regulations by NITDA has assisted in providing enabling environment for Information Technology development in the country.

She said “there is an increasing drive to not just regulate for technology but actually regulate to enable the sector.

“It is no longer just about having a regulation but increasing it to be able to provide the right set of policies and guidance for those who are playing in digital sector.

“Enabling the sector also brings the delivery of such regulations and enabling an environment where regulation is not to curb but rather to enhance and enable more development.

“NITDA has been existing but at this point with the present leadership of the agency, we have seen improved engagement with traditional IT players
and within those who play in the non-traditional space.”

Akinsomi, however, said that harnessing the potential in the IT sector for economic growth would require building capacity of human resources in
the industry and addressing infrastructure problems with regards to internet access.

She said that the country has a huge number of youthful population skilled in their ways of approaching problems and the country needs to
leverage on their skill for digital growth.

She reiterated that Google was committed to working with relevant stakeholders in the country to bring about growth in the IT sector, adding that
it was working to connect Nigerians to free internet networks.

“We need to build capacity and address infrastructure challenges and then support and enable the start ups to harness the potential in the IT industry.

“Supporting the start-ups is not just with finances but a holistic approach that helps them live beyond the initial seed stage so that they can grow,
become sustainable and they can effectively compete beyond that local market.”

The Google public policy head added that the country had enough youthful population that was intelligent in terms of the way they approach problems.

She stressed that “Google is highly committed to granting internet access to Nigerians: we are here to invest in a long term not to invest in a `waka pass’.

“We are here to develop to make the promise of the digital economy a reality in Nigeria.”

Akinsomi recognised that internet access was like a venture which had propelled the company to start its Google free Wi-Fi programme to enable access to Nigerians.

She said that the company was working with local partners to be able to make the most in a sustainable way with free Wi-Fi and working to address the gaps in the local market.

She recalled that the company in July announced that it was targeting 200 free Wi-Fi sites in the next one year and some sites were already operational in Lagos with other states underway.

Akinsomi further said that “we are being deliberate about going to where there is need, we have been doing a lot of training, digital skills and development training skills, we follow the people”.

eNigeria Conference and Exhibition held between Nov. 5 to Nov. 7 and had in attendance IT stakeholders, experts from the industry, academia, Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, private sector, investors, start-up entrepreneurs among other IT dignitaries.

eNigeria was targeted at gathering local and international IT experts to discover new opportunities provided by increasing advancement in technology innovation.

eNigeria conference is also to encourage start-ups and ICT entrepreneurs, aimed at accelerating the development and access to digital products, services to millions of Nigerians, and to ultimately create Africa’s largest single digital market by 2020.
(NAN)
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