Tech giant, Google has announced a plan to invest one billion dollars over five years to support digital transformation in Africa.
Chief Excusive Officer of Google and Alphabet, Mr Sundar Pichai, made the announcement at Google’s first ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and live-streamed recently.
He said that the investment would include the landing of the subsea cable Equiano, which would enable faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs.
According to him, the intervention also includes low-interest loans to help small businesses and equity investments in African startups.
Pichai noted that since 2017, Google has trained six million young Africans out of 10 million plan and also trained small businesses in digital skills.
“Google has also supported more than 50 non-profits organisations across Africa with over 16 million dollars of grants and enabled 100 million more Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android,” he said.
“Google today announced a plan to invest 1 billion dollars over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
“The investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.”
Pinchair said that Google was building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs.
According to him, the subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
He said that internet access was also hampered by the affordability of smartphones which Android has developed a device locking technology as part of the Android platform that will enable partners to offer financed devices.
He explained that Google has collaborated with Kenya’s largest carrier, Safaricom to support the launch of the first “Device Financing” plan in Kenya.
He said that it would expand this initiative across Africa with partners like Airtel, MKOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings and Vodacom, among others.