10 million Nigerians may soon be able to work in the ever growing field of technology, thanks to Google. On Thursday July 27th, CEO of the tech giant, Sundar Pichai took to Twitter to make the announcement, stating in a single tweet “Thrilled that we’re expanding our digital skills program to train 10M Africans over the next 5 years #GoogleforNigeria”, after previously sharing a picture from the city of Lagos earlier in the day. Pichai is paying a visit following the March completion of a year long program started in April of 2016 to train 1 million people.
Nigeria currently has about 91 million internet users, roughly half of the population (47.9%) of the West African country. Google plans to train these individuals over a 5 year period, in hopes of making them “more employable”, according to the CEO. The program will include a mix of online and in person training in multiple languages, including Swahili, Hausa and Zulu. Google also hopes that at least 40% of those being taught are women. The company has committed to providing over $20 million for nonprofits in Africa during the 5 year span, as well as over $3 million in equity free funding to more than 60 African based start ups in a 3 years.
While attending a company conference, Pichai said “Nigerians have to write software for the local economy and we have a program to train over 100,000 software developers in Nigeria.” Although there’s speculation in regard to the success of teaching tech in Nigeria, as opposed to the countries typically sought out by giants in the digital world, Google isn’t the first company to set it’s sights on Africa. In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook paid a visit to Nigeria, expressing his interest and support of local start ups. With it’s steady population growth and Google’s investments, Africa could soon find a new niche.