Google announced today that it will invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation over the next five years. The investment will go towards enabling more Africans to have access to fast, affordable internet, developing useful products, encouraging entrepreneurship and small businesses, and assisting organizations in improving people’s lives across the continent.
The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, which was live-streamed and held virtually.
It expands on Google’s ongoing support to Africa’s digital transformation and entrepreneurship. Google launched its Grow with Google initiative in 2017, with the aim of training 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said, “We’ve made huge strides together over the past decade — but there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African. Today I’m excited to reaffirm our commitment to the continent through an investment of $1B over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in start-ups.”
To date, Google has trained over 6 million people in 25 African countries, with over 60% of participants experiencing career and/or business growth as a result of their participation. Google has also invested over $16 million in over 50 nonprofits across Africa, allowing hundreds of millions of Africans to access the internet for the first time through Android.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa added “I am so inspired by the innovative African tech start-up scene. In the last year, we have seen more investment rounds into tech start-ups than ever before. I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and start-up founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.”
The planned $1billion investment announced today by Pichai, in a nutshell, includes
- Enabling affordable internet access and building helpful products,
- Building global infrastructure – the subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa with Europe,
- A collaboration with Safaricom and other partners to launch Device Financing to enable access to smartphones,
- Plus Codes (a free and open-source addressing system to provide addresses for all) in Kenya, South Africa and others,
- Investments in entrepreneurship and technology through a Black Founders Fund where Google will invest in Black-led startups in Africa,
- Empowering businesses in collaboration with the non-profit organisation Kiva, who Google is providing with $10million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19.
- Renewed funding for nonprofits.