Search and advertising firm Google has announced plans to invest $ 1 billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
According to the company, the investment aims to provide fast and affordable Internet access to more Africans; create useful products; support entrepreneurship and small businesses; and helping non-profit organizations improve lives across Africa.
The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and broadcast live.
The planned $ 1 billion investment announced today by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, will include:
- Enable affordable internet access and create useful products
- Google is building a global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs. The Equiano submarine cable will cross South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and Saint Helena and connect the continent to Europe.
- Access to the Internet is also hampered by the affordability of smartphones. Android has developed device locking technology as part of the Android platform that will allow partners to offer funded devices. Google has worked with Safaricom, Kenya’s largest operator, to support the launch of Kenya’s first ‘device finance’ plan, and will expand this initiative across Africa with partners like Airtel, MKOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings and Vodacom, and more. These partnerships will help millions of new smartphone users access quality and affordable Android smartphones.
- Plus Codes is a free, open source addressing system for providing addresses to everyone. The government of The Gambia has embraced this by providing addresses to residents and businesses in the capital Banjul and is now expanding to the rest of the country. The Plus Codes will extend to South Africa, Kenya and other countries in partnership with governments and non-governmental organizations.
- Investments in entrepreneurship and technology. Through a Black Founders Fund, Google will invest in black-led startups in Africa by offering cash rewards and hands-on support. This is in addition to existing Google support through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped more than 80 African startups with non-capital funding, workspace and access to expert advisors over the past three years. Google also announced the launch of an investment fund for Africa. Through this fund, the company will invest $ 50 million in startups and provide them with access to Google employees, network and technologies to help them create meaningful products for their communities.
- Empower companies as they continue or begin their digital transformation: In collaboration with the non-profit organization Kiva, Google is providing $ 10 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to overcome the economic hardship created by COVID-19.
- Funding renewed for associations. Google.org Expands Commitment to Supporting Nonprofits Striving to Improve Lives in Africa, With $ 40 Million to Help More Partners Responding to the Challenges They See Firsthand in Their Communities – innovators like the Airqo team at Makerere University, who use AI. and sensors to monitor poor air quality, a leading cause of premature death. Google is providing $ 3 million in new grants to expand this pioneering work from Kampala to 10 cities in 5 countries on the continent.
The announcement expands Google’s continued support for digital transformation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
In 2017, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative with a commitment to train 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.
To date, Google has trained over 6 million people in 25 African countries, and over 60% of participants are experiencing career and / or business growth.
Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with an investment of over $ 16 million and provided hundreds of millions of Africans with access to internet services for the first time through Android.
We have made huge strides together over the past decade, but there is still work to be done to make the internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African. Today, I am delighted to reaffirm our commitment to the continent through an investment of $ 1 billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improving the connectivity to investment in startups – Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai