Text of keynote address by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, Nigeria at The Google Nigeria Event in Lagos held Thursday, July 26, 2018 in Lagos.
“In Nigeria, we cannot train our nearly 200million young people by 2045, in classrooms alone. It is impossible! We must use the internet and even mobile telephony. We must connect our young people to knowledge and innovation all over the world. Co-creation efforts of innovators and inventors require broadband to be consummated.”
- Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, Nigeria, seen third from left in photo, with others at The Google Nigeria Event in Lagos on Thursday, July 26, 2018
How about the environment and climate change? So, it is generally agreed that although Africa has contributed least to global warming, it is and will suffer most from its consequences. Indeed, we are already seeing extreme weather events such as flash floods, drought, and desertification.
So to cut a long story short, Africa is confronted with existential challenges, and there is simply no time to waste in resolving these problems. The answer that providence has given us is technology. The great purveyors of technology such as our hosts today Google, and their collaborators – 21st Century Technologies Limited and Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN), are not mere corporations in search of profit and some social good, they literarily hold the future of generations of humanity in their hands.
In Nigeria, we cannot train our nearly 200million young people by 2045, in classrooms alone. It is impossible! We must use the internet and even mobile telephony. We must connect our young people to knowledge and innovation all over the world. Co-creation efforts of innovators and inventors require broadband to be consummated.
So without connectivity, the development trajectory of our nation and continent is truncated. Today, it is also becoming increasingly clear that the availability of food and healthcare for the huge numbers of our people will depend on how democratized the technology becomes. We simply cannot provide enough food, drugs or vaccines in Africa without the availability of innovation in agriculture, and technology in farming and the production of drugs and vaccines. So democratizing Artificial Intelligence as we heard Marvin Chow, Google’s VP Product Marketing, describe in agriculture and the medical sciences, will change the human development story.
Indeed every step that is taken to democratize technology is a quantum leap in the African development story and a major contribution to Global stability and growth. This is why the launch of Google Station here in Nigeria, is an enormously significant event.
First, it means that Google and 21st Century, will be providing free WiFi access in several public spaces in Nigeria, more exciting is that several of our markets will benefit from this free internet access.
“Our goal is to create a data-driven digital economy; one that will lead the way not just in Africa, but globally as well. And I believe strongly that Nigeria is on the right path. We have the people, the talent, we have a government that sees the potential very clearly, and is showing the determination to unlock that potential.”
“Through the GEM Project of the World Bank, the Federal Government has given out over $2million to 79 startups across the country. Apart from this, our National Social Investments Programme is working with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to support the private sector to establish technology and innovation centers across the country.”