On Monday, 18 December 2023, the Amazon Web Services leadership team led by its Vice President of Global Services Uwem Ukpong met with Nigerian Vice President Kashim Shettima; Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy Bosun Tijani; Minister of Interior Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; and a couple of other agencies, in Abuja.
“The basis of our discussion with the Nigerian government was to share ideas around how Nigeria can take advantage of the digital sector,” Ukpong said in an interview. He further stated that he shared many perspectives on how governments in first-world countries and third-world countries have used policies, funding and other tools to support the development of the digital economy.
Upkong, who is also responsible for all the training and certifications at AWS, is keen on seeing how AWS can support Nigerian government-led digital skills training programmes. AWS has made significant strides in training and upskilling the Nigerian workforce, through initiatives such as AWS Academy, AWS re/Start, and AWS Educate which have been fundamental in training over 50,000 Nigerians in cloud technologies since 2017.
“We have a target of training 29 million people globally by 2025 because 25-30% of jobs in the next few years will be digital,” he said.
This visit is one out of many that will happen over the next year, with a follow-up expected to happen in January 2024.
“As a Nigerian, I’m here to listen and take some of the learning back to Amazon headquarters to advocate for how we can better drive digital innovation in Nigeria and Africa,” Ukpong said.
Since AWS, the world's leading cloud computing platform, set up an office in Nigeria last year, it has expanded its client base. Establishing a local office and having staff on ground has helped AWS better serve a diverse client base across startups, SMBs, enterprises, and the public sector.
To cater to its increasing number of clients, earlier this year, AWS established Nigeria’s First CloudFront Edge Location – a mini data centre strategically placed in Lagos, to reduce latency and improve scalability.
Amid, the drive to help move legacy companies to the cloud, Ukpong highlighted a big focus on supporting Nigerian startups who attracted 46% of funding for African startups last year. AWS already has a large client roaster of Nigerian startups such as Flutterwave, Aella Credit, SeamlessHR, Yellow Card, BFree and Bankly.
"The big question we're constantly asking ourselves," Upkong said, "is, 'how do we enable more people to come onboard to AWS'?"
Update: The article was edited by 1:38 PM on December 20, 2023, to modify a statement concerning AWS Nigerian client base.