Google commits $1 billion to digital transformation in Africa

google for africa investment

At its first Google for Africa event, Google announced that it plans to invest $1 billion over five years to support digital transformation in Africa.

The announcement was made during the event’s keynote, by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

“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,” Pichai said.

“Today I’m excited to reaffirm our commitment to the continent through an investment of $1 billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups.”

What will the Google investment in Africa include?

The investment will focus on aiding the rollout of affordable internet access, as well as supporting entrepreneurship. This also includes helping businesses with digital transformation.

The company will invest in Black-owned startups through the Black Founders Fund. Meanwhile, it is collaborating with NPO Kiva to provide $10 million in low-interest loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs. These loans are aimed at helping businesses recover from the pandemic.

Through the newly announced Africa Investment Fund, Google will invest $50 million in local startups. This also includes providing access to Google employees and technologies.

It will also allocate $40 million to non-profit partners tackling challenges in Africa.

Improving internet access in Africa

Investments in infrastructure and device affordability will aim to make internet access more affordable for people in Africa.

This includes continued work on the Equiano subsea cable, which will connect Africa with Europe. The cable will run through South African, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena.

The company also highlighted some of its initiatives that have increased device affordability and tackled infrastructural challenges.

This includes Google’s collaboration with Safaricom in Kenya to launch its first Device Financing plan to lower the price of devices.

Read more: R5.5m Netflix fund to empower Black creatives in South Africa

Feature image: Screenshot/Google

Megan Ellis


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