By Adeyemi Adepetun
GOVERNOR of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured investors of a conducive environment and policies that guarantee returns on investments.
He gave the assurance at an event, organised by Google to announce the arrival of its 12,000km Equiano subsea Internet cable, in collaboration with WIOCC, the landing partner.
The governor said the current environment in the state was right and ripe for huge investments, stressing that Lagos “is spacious enough for more of such investment.”
Sanwo-Olu, who said Nigeria’s economy was fast moving away from oil and gas to digital, noted that the Equiano cable would make the country a big technology hub in the region. He assured that the state would churn out favourable policies.
Explaining the investment, Google boasted that the cable would become a critical element in meeting Nigeria’s current and future international connectivity needs.
A breakdown showed that the cable would start in Portugal and run more than 12,000km along the West Coast of Africa and initially land in Lome, Togo; Lagos, Nigeria; Swakopmund, Namibia; Rupert’s Bay, Saint Helena and Melkbosstrand, South Africa, establishing a valuable new high-capacity connection between the African and European continents.
Named after Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano, the cable would support further digital transformation in Nigeria, a country that has produced five start-up unicorns (companies now valued at more than $1 billion) in the last five years.
On expected benefits, Google, which referenced a recent impact assessment study by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics, stated that once the cable becomes fully operational, perhaps, later this year, “some of these benefits include ensuring increased Internet speed by a factor of six, reduce Internet retail prices by 21 per cent and increase penetration by six percentage points.
Besides, the infrastructure is to boost the nation’s GDP by $10.1 billion by 2025, job creation by 1.6 million jobs and save 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly.
Director, West Africa at Google, Juliet Ehimuan, said: “Google is committed to supporting Africa’s digital transformation, and we are excited to see the impact of the landing of Equiano in Nigeria. We’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to guarantee that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa.”
She said Equiano is set to make an enduring contribution towards the development of Nigeria’s communications infrastructure and “today marks another major step in its development. We look forward to honouring our commitment to be part of Africa’s digital transformation.”
Chief Executive Officer of WIOCC, Chris Wood, said the firm “is proud to have been selected by Google as the landing partner for the Equiano cable in Nigeria and landing the cable directly into the OADC Lagos data centre, which will be extended to other data centres across Lagos.”
He added: “The Equiano cable will deliver improved Internet quality, speed and affordability to the people of Nigeria. However, for the benefits to be fully felt throughout Nigeria, hyper-scale connectivity needs to be extended from the Lagos area to the rest of the country. To make this happen, WIOCC is also deploying a comprehensive, hyper-scale national fibre network. The network will go live in phases, starting in June and continuing through to the end of the year. When combined with the Equiano cable, this network will deliver transformational benefits across the country.”