Nigerian Vice President Meets With Google CEO During US Visit To Promote Nigeria’s Tech Sector

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a three-day visit to the U.S. that is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s tech and entertainment sectors.

The Nigerian politician is meeting with tech and entertainment stakeholders in the U.S. to showcase the growth and investment potential of these sectors in his country, according to Ventureburn.

His three-day trip, described as a public-private sector collaborative investment road show, sees him travel to Silicon Valley in San Francisco and Hollywood, California.

One of his meetings in Silicon Valley was with Google CEO Pichai, who tweeted that it was a pleasure to welcome Osinbajo to the Google headquarters.

“Happy to welcome the Vice President of Nigeria @ProfOsinbajo to the Googleplex today – great to chat with him about the opportunities of Nigeria’s digital economy,” Pichai tweeted.

The vice president will meet with global industry leaders, investors, fund managers and large U.S. technology companies, according to a press release from the Nigerian government. He will also be showcasing “the progress and strides in the country’s technology, innovation and creative space by Nigerian technology startups and entertainment industry practitioners.”

Via his Twitter feed, Osinbajo mentioned meeting Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn, and representatives from entertainment studios Universal Studios, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, IMAX and Disney, as well as Google CEO Pichai.

Pichai visited Lagos, Nigeria in 2017 and announced a number of Google investments and initiatives that he said would benefit Africa.

In September, Google launched a mentorship program focused on supporting African tech entrepreneurs, with a new Google Launchpad space now available in Nigeria.

Google Developers Launchpad Africa, which will operate from a new space in Lagos, is a mentorship program that aims to provide tech startups based in Africa with tools to build sustainable businesses, according to IOL.

The Google Launchpad Space in Nigeria was the first onsite location for the program outside of the U.S.

Nigerian vice president
Nigerian vice president Yemi Osinbajo is visiting the U.S. to promote his country’s tech sector. Photo – AP – Michel Euler

Google continues African focus

In June, Google announced that it will be establishing an artificial intelligence research center in Accra, Ghana later this year — a first for the company on the continent, according to Quartz.

Expert machine learning researchers and engineers will work together at the new AI research center in Accra which will be dedicated to artificial intelligence research and its applications in a wider African context.

The research center will focus on using artificial intelligence applications in areas that include healthcare, agriculture and education.

Announcing the AI research center in a Google blog post, senior Google AI fellow Jeff Dean and staff research scientist Moustapha Cisse wrote about the growing interest artificial intelligence has experienced across Africa.

“In recent years, we’ve witnessed an increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent,” the pair wrote in the Google blog post.

Also in June, following the successful conclusion of the first Google Africa Launchpad Accelerator program, the company opened applications for its second class of tech startups, extending it to a dozen additional African countries, according to PCTechmag.

The move to extend applications to an additional 12 nations across Africa brings the total number of countries eligible to apply up to 18 countries.

The first class of 12 startups, which graduated on June 8, involved six of the selected companies from Nigeria, two from Kenya, and one each from Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

The dozen new countries where startups will be able to apply for the Google Africa Launchpad program include Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cameroon, Botswana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria.