VENTURES AFRICA – The Executive Chairman of Google Inc., Mr. Eric Schmidt, has visited the governor of Lagos state Babatunde Fashola to discuss the socio-economic landscape of the city, broadband internet and possible opportunities for the US-based tech giant.
Citing Brazil as an example where Google started with a “small size” and grew quickly to a 1000 workforce, Schmidt said Nigeria has huge IT growth potentials.
Speaking during the visit, Governor Fashola highlighted that his government had identified Information Technology as a pivotal driver of the state’s economic future adding that his administration was had been working ahead to establish infrastructure for IT in the city.
He also discussed partnership with the search engine giant which could benefit SMEs and the state’s tertiary institution.
Schmidt led a delegation which included Country Manager Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan and Jared Cohen, the founder and Director of Google Idea, on courtesy visit to the governor of Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos.
According to Lagos’ governor, there are plans to convert Katangowa an underdeveloped area of the city “a major IT hub” and hoped Google could take advantage of this.
“We are thinking of an IT warehouse and just taking everybody to the place,” Fashola said.
“What we have decided a few weeks ago is that Government will take the lead and that we are going to put buildings, shops and warehouses there and hope that people will follow us.”
According to ThisDay, the governor said his administration has invested in Independent Power Project (IPP) as part of its capacity development programs to enable institutions in the state to utilise IT.
Google has been in the Nigerian market for about three years and has since helped to build an online ecosystem.
In September 2011, it launched a Get Nigerian Businesses Online (GNBO) initiative to increase the online population of Nigerian small and medium businesses. The initiative offered Nigeria’s capital-challenged SMEs a free website solution and support package that would normally have cost at least $700.