Last August, I gave a hint that Google could be launching their G-Africa Initiative, a series of events in Sub-Saharan Africa for software developers, marketers and entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Well, I think Google got my hint. The search engine giant has just announced their largest G-Africa event yet, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Update 1 (26/01 -07:20am): I’ll be speaking with Nyimbi Odero, Office Lead of English-speaking West Africa based in Lagos, as well as Nnamdi Abraham-Igwe and Lydia Mazzie who run the G-Africa program from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA in a phone interview today.
Update 2 (26/01-08:07pm): Had a 25-minute conference call with Nyimbi, Nnamdi and Lydia of Google about the upcoming G-Day Nigeria 2010 and their thoughts about developers from Nigeria. Will be meeting in a one-on-one conversation with Nyimbi soon to discuss Google’s interests and initiatives for Nigeria.
According to the Google Africa blog:
We are happy to announce that our largest G-Africa event yet, G-Nigeria 2010, will be held February 18 – 20 at the University of Lagos.
Interestingly, Google Nigeria organized the first Google Lagos Code Camp, where 50 of the best developers and technology managers that Lagos has to offer attended the three-day event.
At that event held at the Frenchies Cafe on Victoria Island in October 2009, Google’s various technologies were covered, all in the pursuit of creating very scalable, web-based applications and attendees learned how to use the Google Web Toolkit, AppEngine, Maps API, iGoogle and iGadgets.
Although I wasn’t at the Lagos Code Camp, I got a scoop via email from one of the student developers at the event, David Olorundare. He said:
“Some of the ideas shared were really awesome and inspiring. Though, i’m working on my own (secret) personal largescale change-the-world-project, it was good to hear other people’s thoughts and views about problem-issues in Nigeria; and what developers can do to change/solve it.”
Finally, he thinks it was too small to be a ‘camp’.
According to Nyimbi Odero, Google’s Office Lead, English Speaking West Africa,
“…one of the participants demonstrated his attentiveness and creativity by porting Chewy’s Python based twitube mashup web application into Java. All from one day’s training. Another participant demonstrated an Android App that posted location data to an AppEngine host via GPRS. Needless to say, the Google team was really impressed.”
However, there were challenges with the event especially in terms of slow or unsteady internet connections. But in typical Nigerian and Google style, Google’s own Christopher Kiagiri and Chewy Trewhella, on loan from Nairobi and London respectively braved on and put the participants through their paces.
Well, if Google had launched their Google Wifi in Nigeria before now, that could have forestalled the Internet issues they experienced at the event.
What to Expect at G-Nigeria Day 2010
I think the event will be full of Google product demonstrations and presentations in a bid to push the boundaries of web applications using Google developer technologies.
For me, I’ll be interested in the sessions with venture capitalists on how to raise capital for online ventures, how to create local content using online tools, how to market them and how to monetize.
I’ll also be expecting Google to launch a new product or service for Nigeria. One product I’d love to see is mapping directions for Nigeria, especially with the traffic snarls around Lagos, and other major cities in Nigeria.
If this happens for Lagos, I’m wondering what Nokia’s response would be.
Hopefully, I’ll see you there.
Photo (G-Mauritius Day 2009) via: Asheshr
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