Nigeria’s huge base of internet users seems to be a major point of attraction after all, as a global tech giant; Google in partnership with Alphabet is set to invest $1 billion over the next five years. Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and others are slated to be beneficiaries of this massive investment.
The investment is aimed at the digital transformation of the continents and will also focus on enabling fast, affordable Internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.
Beyond the investment, Google during its first-ever Africa event hosted virtually highlighted that the catch for Google is to improve internet connectivity in Africa by building quality digital enabling infrastructure and encouraging connectivity costs.
- Google and Alphabet plan to further achieve this through the subsea cable Equiano which will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
- Google also revealed a collaboration with Kenya’s largest carrier; Safaricom to support the launch of the first “Device Financing” plan in Kenya. Fron Kenya, Google hopes to expand across Africa with partners like Airtel, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings, and Vodacom, and more.
- Google will also invest in Black-led startups in Africa by providing cash awards and hands-on support, adding that this is in addition to Google’s existing support through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped more than 80 African startups with equity-free finance, working space and access to expert advisors over the last three years.
- Part of programmes highlighted to distribute funds to achieve its grand plan is the establishment of the Africa Investment Fund. Through this fund, the company will invest $50 million in startups and provide access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies for building meaningful products.
- In furtherance, Google is providing $10 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19.
- With $40 million, Google.org is expanding its commitment to support nonprofits working to improve lives across Africa.
Google’s Trajectory with Africa
Googles as a tech giant over the year have championed Africa’s digital transformation. This agenda has also helped to pull in massive figures into the continent’s economy, recall that
In 2017, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative with a commitment to training 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.
Data from Google has it that the tech giant has trained over six million people across 25 African countries, with over 60 percent of participants experiencing growth in their career and/or business as a result.
The same data translates that Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with over $16 million of investment, and enabled hundreds of millions of Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa has this to say about the scheme in Africa,
“I am so inspired by the innovative African tech startup scene. In the last year, we have seen more investment rounds into tech startups 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 startup founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.”