Nigeria wants to transform its digital economy by providing free Wi-Fi for all - but there are challenges ahead

In order to grow its digital economy and provide internet access for all, the Nigerian government said it is working to provide free Wi-Fi across the country.

Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria's Communication minister, Google Nigeria CEO at the one-day stakeholders workshop on the Role of Public Internet Access for Economic Development (Twitter/HMAdebayoShittu)

The country's minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, revealed this at a stakeholder workshop powered by Google Nigeria on the role of the Public Internet Access for Economic Development on Tuesday, Premium Times reports.

We are trying to ensure the vision of free Wi-Fi all over, particularly in public spaces, at the airport, schools and all that.

“The Federal Ministry of Communication will ensure the privacy of beneficiaries of the free internet services is protected,” the online news platform quoted the minister.

He explained that the free internet service will be made available and accessible to everyone while guaranteeing data privacy.

Nigeria is ready but challenges abound

Shittu said the government will need assistance from corporate bodies and international partners to bear the financial implications and responsibilities of the infrastructure.

Despite its readiness, the Nigeria government is facing challenges such as high-cost internet access, low broadband penetration and poor internet infrastructure. “The solutions to these challenges are beyond government’s intervention.”

Last year, Google Nigeria launched Free-Wi-Fi stations in Lagos and Abuja with a move to roll out in 200 locations in five cities by the end of 2019. Nigeria was the fifth country to get Google Station, after India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.

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