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Google Earmarks $3m Grants to Support Businesses across Africa

Google has announced new initiatives to support African businesses with grants, Nigeria inclusive.

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Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan, who announced the initiatives during the virtual Google Economic Recovery Roundtable, held, recently, said to provide assistance to vulnerable populations, Google.org has set aside $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment across Africa.

According to her, $500,000 of the amount would go towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation, a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people, in order to help train micro and small businesses in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

“In an effort to help job seekers acquire new skills while they look for opportunities, Google is providing underserved communities and job seekers with $750,000 in Information Technology (IT) support scholarships through Google.org across Africa. Job seekers can also access the Grow with Google training portal for help in growing their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalised training courses.

“For educational institutions and teachers, Google is working with partners across Africa, through Google for Education, to help deploy its suite of education products in schools and help 500,000 students continue learning. To help teachers keep teaching, Google aims to give 25,000 educators access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.

Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organisations in Nigeria, which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country,” Ehimuan said.

She further explained Google would set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals. Through the hub, 500,000 small businesses will receive help getting online or improving their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB) which helps them connect with millions of users every month.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this COVID-19 period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with these initiatives,” Ehimuan said.

She added that the tech company’s initiatives would address the need for funding, training and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.

“This support includes a partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The partnership will provide support for youth-owned SMBs. It will also provide support for jobseekers in Nigeria to help them acquire marketable skills through certification and training programs, and involve supporting programs that enable and improve access to quality education across the region,” Ehimuan said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who was pleased with the initiatives, said the partnership between Google and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, would motivate Nigerian youths to become more innovative to explore their world of technology.

According to the Minister, Google partnership would enhance Google’s execution plans towards achieving a renewed commitment to support small businesses and individuals in Nigeria to recover, following negative slowdowns resulting from COVID-19.

“We are focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria. This partnership with Google in Nigeria is critical at this period and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector,” Dare said.

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US Ambassador opens centre in Lagos, to boost entrepreneurial skills among Nigerian youth

US Ambassador to Nigeria has launched a centre where youths can gain entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops.

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The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, opened the first-of-its-kind Window on America in Nigeria on Monday.

The Centre is expected to serve as a community center where young people develop their ideas, as well as their leadership and entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops designed especially for them.

This was disclosed in a statement shared by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section (PAS), U.S. Consulate General and seen by Themoneymetrics.

According to the statement, the Centre, which was Hosted at the Lekki Slum2School Innovation Hub in Lagos, is as a result of a partnership between the US Consulate General, Lagos and Slum2School Africa, founded by Otto Orondaam, a 2016 alumnus of U.S. government’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The Ambassador noted that the new Window on America is open to everyone in the community, offering its services, programs and resources to the public at no cost.

She said, “We are happy to open the very first Window on America space in Nigeria here in Lekki.

“In the next few months, we will follow with six additional new Windows on America in the south and 12 across the country. We want our Windows on America to promote mutual understanding between the United States and the people of Nigeria.”

In addition to providing public programming space, the Lekki Window on America will support five core programs: English language learning, educational advising, alumni activities, cultural programs, and information about the U.S.

What you should know

  • Visitors to the window will typically include students, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, journalists, civic organizations, government officials, and community leaders, in addition to many others.
  • Windows on America are American spaces that provide welcoming environments where visitors can learn about the United States, including its government, history, culture, and educational system through programs, lectures, books and electronic resources provided by the U.S. Government.
  • In addition to the Lekki Window on America, 12 more will be opened in major cities across the country, including Abeokuta, Awka, Benin City, Enugu, Osogbo, Uyo, Zaria, Minna, Dutse, Makurdi, Gombe and Lafia, in order to engage more Nigerian audiences in their local communities.
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VP Osinbajo calls for provision of capital to grow businesses for long term

The Vice President has stated that the banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria.

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There is need to further deepen the provision of capital that will allow businesses to grow over the long term. This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Bankers Committee on Friday.

He commended the DMBs for their patriotic contributions to sustain growth but called for the need to further deepen the provision of capital that would allow businesses to grow over the long term.

“The banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria. I commend #CBN for the forward-looking support for growth-related initiatives, especially under the economic sustainability plan,” he said.

What you should know

  • On Friday, VP Osinbajo had called for crypto regulation, knowing fully well the role crypto plays in the global financial ecosystem, as he opined that such disruption often made room for progress, according to Nairametrics.
  • Osinbajo also advised the SEC, and Central Bank of Nigeria to create a regulatory road map, while fully appreciating the stance of the CBN, Nigerian SEC, and law enforcement agencies on the possible abuses of crypto assets.
  • The vice president further stressed the important role cryptocurrencies would play in the coming years as they would most likely challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways the world hadn’t yet imagined. He thus stressed the need for Nigeria to be prepared for such a seismic shift.

 

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Sanwo-Olu says construction work on Fourth Mainland Bridge to start end of 2021

Governor Sanwo-Olu has disclosed that the foundation for the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of 2021.

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that the foundation for the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of the year 2021.

The execution of the bridge is geared towards improving the transport infrastructure and movement across the state.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Sanwo-Olu during the 16th Executive/Legislative Parley, with the theme: ”A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”, organised by the Office of Civic Engagement.

He pointed out that the promise to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge is not a political one.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu during the interactive session said, ”We did not politically promise Fourth Mainland Bridge but we are going to do Fourth Mainland Bridge.

”With your prayers and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall turn the sod and lay the foundation for the building and construction of that Fourth Mainland Bridge before the end of this year.

”We are on course and I am sure that the 37km ring road is on track, which will change the face of transportation and movement in Lagos,” the governor said.

The governor also disclosed that his administration was on course to complete the Blue Line and Red Line rail projects which were started several years back, saying the project will be completed and trains will move on the two rail lines before the end of his administration.

He said, ”It is a commitment that we have given to Lagosians and it is a commitment that we will see will come to fruition because we have finished the financial closure and we are excited about that project.’

Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser, Office Of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said that the executive and legislature would discuss extensively the theme of the retreat, “A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”.

While saying that the discussion in the next 48 hours would help to fast track the rebuilding of the state, Adebowale said that they would delve deeply into issues such as Youth Leadership Role, Grassroots Development: a catalyst for growth, and Role of Social Media in Nation Building, among others.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Lagos State Government has shortlisted 6 companies for the design, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Fourth Mainland Bridge.
  • This followed the government’s issuance of a Request for Qualification (RFQ) in February this year. The 6 companies were said to have completed the technical and financial capacity requirements.
  • Lagos State said it will announce the selection of the next stage in due course, even as the RFQ will be given to the pre-qualified bidders.
  • The Fourth Mainland Bridge is a 37.4km freeway subdivided into three sections namely Island Section, Lagoon Section and Mainland Section. It will commence from Abraham Adesanya Roundabout in Lekki through Ajah and Langbasa areas, crossing the Ado Badore Road before arriving at the Lagoon shoreline.
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