Country Manager of Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, has said that 250,000 roads in the country as well as 200,000 places of public interest have been mapped by the company.
She also said that the Internet was growing very fast in Nigeria, creating new opportunities for businesses and individuals to create more wealth.
She spoke on Tuesday at the unveiling of Android One in Lagos. The mobile device, which runs on the latest version of Android Operating System (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop), was unveiled by Infinix in partnership with Google, MTN Nigeria and Jumia Nigeria.
Ehimuan said that the digital mapping had made it possible for Nigerians to visit those places with the help of Google Map rather than bothering others for direction.
On the impact mobile telephone has had on the Internet, Ehimuan said 65 per cent of searches done in the country were conducted via mobile devices – a demonstration of the growth of telecommunications.
She, however, said a lot of mobile telephone users had yet to connect to the Internet.
“More and more Nigerians and other Africans will be empowered by the Internet. But for the Internet to be relevant to many Nigerians, local content has to be created,” she noted.
Also speaking on the Internet content creation, the Vice President (Product Management), Google, Caesar Sengupta, said apps of Nigerian origin, such as Afrinoly, had started “creating excitement in different parts of the world.”
Sengupta, who was in Nigeria for the first time, described the growth of the Internet in the country as impressive. With 10.2 million Nigerians connected to the Internet in 2014 alone, he said Nigerian businesses could still benefit a lot from online platforms.
“Imagine that small and medium enterprises in Nigeria go online? That will mean a global exposure for their services or products. The Internet is driving entrepreneurship all over the world, and Nigerian businesses can gain a lot from this,” he said.
The Vice President said he had visited the Ikeja Computer Village, Lagos, and was amazed by the growth of the country’s telephone market. He, however, said many Nigerians were still buying devices with older versions of operating systems. This, he said, would limit their smartphone experience.
Sengupta observed that high cost of data was a challenge in Africa and other emerging countries. To reduce the burden of expensive data on Internet users, he said, Google would unveil offline YouTube and Google Map in Nigeria, Kenya and a few other African countries in coming months.
If Google’s plan is implemented, people would be able to navigate Google Map and watch YouTube videos offline.
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Michael Ikpoki, who took part in the panel discussion, said that Internet usage in the country was still very low despite the increase in penetration.
“To address this, we need to create local content that is relevant to Nigerians users. It means we need to enlighten the public,” he said.
Ikpoki, who put the country’s active mobile lines at 120 million, said more businesses would be created as more Nigerians go online.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Nigeria, Jeremy Doutte, said the Internet had revolutionised Nigeria’s retail industry.
“When we started, a few people believed that online retailing would be successful in Nigeria. But we have exceeded our expectations. Our vision is to double our volume in the next 12 months,” Doutte said.
He said 50 per cent of the company’s revenue “come from smartphone sale,” adding that the Internet had a huge potential for retailers.
The Managing Director of Infinix, Mr. Benjamin Jiang, added, “The nature of Lagos has made online a suitable means of marketing. It takes about two hours to connect Victoria Island from Ikeja; hence many people would rather do online transactions.”
Before coming to the Nigerian market, Android One was unveiled in 10 countries. Five more African markets would receive the product in the next two weeks, said Google.