ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Free Internet is nothing without meaningful use [ICT Clinic]

Nigeria has suddenly come on the radar of major technology companies. Many companies now want a piece of the action in Nigeria, especially, in this era, when majority of policy makers have little or no idea of what is truly going on, or what the true motives of some of these companies giving out services are.
Personally, I appreciate the fact that, a number of multi-national companies, not just in technology, are providing services that are free and valuable.
However, with the understanding that data is the new gold, there is obviously a profit motive behind some of these investments.
A few weeks ago, I focused on Google’s decision to build an Artificial Intelligence lab in Ghana, which understandably, is within its purview as a business.
I, however, stressed that, Nigeria deserves more and in fact, Nigerians should demand for more. Sadly, I am not seeing that happen, even, from those who are supposed to be in charge of our policies.
For instance, I listened to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s speech at the event organised by the technology giant and I can say that he missed a golden opportunity to send a message to them, that Nigeria deserves more.
Maybe, the fact that Ghana is getting an AI lab, which will power the continent means nothing to those who wrote the VP’s speech. Otherwise, they should have tasked the company to have bigger plans for Africa’s most populous nation and potentially, the continent’s giant.
The Google for Nigeria event has now become a platform to announce the company’s plans for the country. While the event was on-going and various executives came up to announce the launch of various products and services upgrade, I stood up and accosted a top international executive and my question to him was simple: Are these all the major announcements you have for a country that is virtually making you the most revenue in Africa?
He responded by telling me to wait for the final announcement. I asked what it was and he said, “Google Station.”
I further asked, if he meant that providing free Wi-Fi, is a better deal than setting up a futuristic project, such as what Ghana got and he replied that he thought so. I did not want to argue with him, since the event was still on.
My candid opinion, however, is simply; this is a good development because, it will give many Nigerians the opportunity to have — Finish Reading on the Punch