The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated discussions with Elon Musk’s internet company, Starlink, exploring possibilities to create employment opportunities in the country through local maintenance and production of Starlink’s hardware. The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, revealed that these discussions took place on the sidelines of the ongoing International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication (ITU-WRC) Conference in Dubai.
Focus on Job Creation and Local Production:
During the meeting, Minister Tijani engaged with Ryan Goodnight, the Senior Director of Global Licensing and Activation at SpaceX, the parent company of Starlink. The discussions centered on the potential establishment of programs to certify local installers and maintenance personnel in Nigeria. Additionally, they explored opportunities for contracts with local hardware startups to produce Starlink’s repeater boxes within the country.
Nigeria: Starlink’s Largest Market in Africa: In a post on his social media handle, Minister Tijani shared that Nigeria is recognized as Starlink’s largest market in Africa. The Minister expressed the importance of addressing the connectivity needs of unserved and underserved Nigerians. He also highlighted the potential for job creation through initiatives such as a certified installer/maintenance program for Starlink and collaboration with local hardware startups for the production of repeater boxes.
Starlink’s Presence in Nigeria: Starlink officially announced its presence in Nigeria in January of this year, gaining significant attention from Nigerians eager to enhance their internet services. Despite higher costs compared to local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Starlink’s satellite service has garnered substantial interest, particularly in areas with poor internet connectivity.
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Growing Customer Base and Price Adjustments:
As of June, Starlink Nigeria boasted a customer base of 6,756, making it one of the leading ISPs in Nigeria based on customer numbers. To further expand its reach, Starlink recently reduced its hardware costs by 21%, making it more accessible to users. Despite the price reduction, the monthly subscription remained unchanged at N38,000 per month.
Encouraging Tech Investment: Minister Tijani emphasized the government’s intention to encourage tech companies to invest in Nigeria, aiming to deepen the country’s tech ecosystem. The collaboration with Starlink aligns with this vision, potentially creating a significant impact on job creation and local technology production.
The engagement between the Nigerian government and Starlink signifies a strategic move towards leveraging technology to address connectivity challenges and stimulate job creation in the country. The partnership aims to harness the potential of local talent and resources to contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy.
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