Google has announced a $10 million grant to support Kenya’s post-Covid-19 recovery efforts and will also expand its Google for Startups Accelerator program this year by supporting 100,000 businesses and 15,000 developers in Kenya.
The $10 million grant includes $3 million to support SMEs, $5 million for Kenyan startups and $2 million for NGOs. Google will also train 29,000 students and 1,800 teachers on remote learning using its Google Classroom platform.
The announcement was made by Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai during a virtual meeting Wednesday evening with President Uhuru Kenyatta on the sidelines of a public discussion on digital transformation in Africa organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
CCA is a Washington DC based trade association focusing on strengthening trade and commercial ties between the United States of America and African economies.
“Thank you and your team for being very close collaborators with Kenya over the years. We started our journey almost two decades ago to try and start moving into the digital world.,” said President Kenyatta. “You have been a good part of that journey. A journey that has enabled many Kenyans through the use of technology and digitization to access financial services, knowledge and to enhance their business capacities.”
Kenyatta added that Kenya is aggressively expanding internet connectivity across the country and investing in skills development to enable young Kenyans to benefit from employment opportunities created by the digital revolution.
The President said his administration is rolling out the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to give Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects the prominence needed to move Kenya from a nation reliant on agriculture to an economy powered by technology.
Moving forward, President Kenyatta said Kenya’s priority is translating the expanding internet connectivity in the country into tangible economic benefits for her people.
“True growth in Kenya is going to be led by SMEs and we need to be able to tool them. One area I would like us to work a lot more together is in the area of supporting our SMEs,” the President said.
The Head of State said his administration was keen on expanding market opportunities for Kenyan businesses through the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United States of America and other multilateral platforms such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
On his part, Mr Pichai said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated digital growth in Africa and assured President Kenyatta that Google will continue partnering with African Governments in the delivery of technology solutions.