Pantami, journalists laud Google’s first Developers Space launch in Nigeria
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has lauded Google’s efforts at creating initiatives to support the startup ecosystem in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launch of Africa’s first Google Developers Space in Lagos, Nigeria, Pantami who was represented by the Managing Director, NigComSat, Abimbola Alale, noted that “What Google has done is key into the ministry’s digital strategy road map”.
“The space will provide opportunity for digital mass training which is a way of building a digital society for readiness of a digital economy,” she said.
She however added that the ministry was ready to partner with Google in providing more of such spaces, saying “in the next 10 years hopes to make Nigeria a digital economy”.
According to Google, previously referred to as the Google Launchpad Space, the Google Developers Space is a hub for African developers, entrepreneurs and startups.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, made a commitment to African entrepreneurs In July 2017, to start the Launchpad Accelerator Africa program and launch a space to house these efforts in Nigeria. Google is launching the Google Developers Space in Lagos today to provide that home, and a space where entrepreneurs, developers, VCs and investors can connect and collaborate with each other.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa head of Operations, Onajite Emerhor noted, “Google is strengthening its commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa by opening the Google Developers Space today”.
“We have partnered with Impact Hub to bring the Space to life and worked with a local company called Spacefinish, which designed it specifically to create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation. We’re looking forward to working with startups and other players in the ecosystem from across the continent at the Space”.
“We plan to hold over 200 events targeting over 10,000 developers, mentors, startups, SMEs, investors and more to engage in the space, share ideas and collaborate.”
“We understand the infrastructure challenge in Africa which is one of the reasons we decided to open this space, which is fully funded by Google. Once our Launchpad programme is not on, anyone can apply to use this space.”
Google does not charge for use of the space, which in addition to housing Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa will support developer meetups, training, experts office hours, Women in tech events, startup programs (outside of Launchpad), partner events that support the wider entrepreneur and developer ecosystem, as well as Google initiatives for empowering people through digital skills training.
“There’s a lot of value in having these spaces developed because the region is blessed with immense human potentials.This space is the next step to our support for developers across the continent. From our commitment to train 100 000 developers across Africa and the launch of developer merchant support in the Google Play store, making it possible for developers to earn money through apps they build”.
“If there’s a thriving digital economy, multiple players will benefit. We want to see global success stories coming out of Africa. We’re training 10 million people for free with digital skills. If people have the right skills they can really participate in the digital economy”.
We are excited to continue our journey with the African startup and developer communities,” Juliet Ehimuan, Country Director, Google Nigeria, said”.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa has worked with 47 startups since the first class kicked off in early 2018. These companies have raised millions of dollars in investments, and created over nine hundred jobs across the continent. Launchpad Africa has accelerated startups from 17 African countries so far: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The next class will kick off at the Google Developer Space in May 2020.
Through Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, Google provides training aligned with real-life job competency requirements. There are 173 active Google Developer Groups (GDGs) in Africa, providing an opportunity for developers to meet other developers with similar interests at GDG meetup events, which include talks on a wide range of technical topics and hands-on workshops. GDGs also host DevFests – community-led developer events focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies. Last year, more than 100 DevFest events were held across Africa.
“Africa’s startup ecosystem is growing and this space is our way of supporting and being a part of that growth. We’re looking forward to working with startups and other players in the ecosystem from across the continent at the Space,” says Emerhor.
The event had several journalists in attendance from the Print, Electronic and Online platforms who also lauded the initiative while calling for more of such to be replicated across the country.
Report by: Theresa Igata