EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, GOOGLE INC.,MR. ERIC SCHMIDT led a high-powered delegation to meet with the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and members of his team to discuss the possibility of deepening the State’s role as the hub of the internet corporation’s initiatives in Nigeria.
While receiving Schmidt, Fashola said that in spite of the huge investment his administration has made in infrastructure development to meet the needs of the increasing population, it was clear to his team that the future of the State’s economy lay in the development of Information Technology.
“While we were bringing in economic relief, opening up opportunities, attracting investment, it was clear to us that the future of the economy of our state would be built on Information Technology”. He told the Google team
, “All you have heard about providing Right of Way, at cost not at profit, was not accidental. It was clear to us that the profit lies ahead. We had many arguments and many fights in a bid to answer the question, do we want to make money now and make no money in future? Do we want to lose the opportunity to the competition? We are conscious of the fact that if any other state does it, we lose the business”.
In her opening remarks, Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan said Google has been in Nigeria for about three years and that the work the company has been doing has been helping to build online ecosystem, noting that Nigeria is a vibrant market with lots of opportunities.
Chairman of Google Inc, Mr. Eric Schmidt, said the company believes there is a huge growth in Nigeria giving Brazil as an example where, according to him, “We started with a smaller size group and we grew incredibly quickly to the point that we have 1,000 people”.
Also present at the occasion were Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Moji Rhodes, a member Lagos Innovative Council, Mr. Tomi Davies and Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Professor Obafunwa among others on the State Government side while on the Google Inc side were the Director Google Idea, Mr. Jared Cohen with other top officials of the company.