The American multinational, Google LLC, which specializes in Internet-related services and products, including online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software and hardware, recently announced an investment plan of $1 billion over five years to support Africa's digital transformation.
The announcement was made at Google's first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and broadcast live. According to details provided by Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, the investment is to enable:
Google built a global infrastructure to help bring faster Internet to more people and reduce connectivity costs. The Equiano submarine cable will cross South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and Saint Helena and connect the continent to Europe.
Internet access is 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 partnered with Safaricom to support the launch of the leading "aircraft financing" in Kenya and expand this initiative across Africa with partners like Airtel, M-KOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings and Vodacom, and more. These partnerships will help millions of new smartphone users access affordable, quality Android smartphones.
Through a Black Founders Fund, Google will invest in black-led startups in Africa by providing cash rewards and hands-on support. This is in addition to existing Google support through Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped over 80 African startups with capital-free funding, workspace and access to expert advisors over the past three years. .
In collaboration with nonprofit Kiva, Google is providing $10 million worth of low interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa get through the economic hardships created by Covid-19.
Google expands its commitment to supporting nonprofits working to improve lives across Africa, with $40 million to help more partners responding to challenges than they see first hand in their communities - innovators like team AirQo from MakerereUniversity, using AI and sensors to monitor bad air quality, one of the main causes of premature death. Google is providing $3 million in new grants to expand this pioneering work from Kampala across 10 cities in five countries on the continent.
This investment "will support the continent's digital transformation," said Sundar Pichai.