Google has earmarked over Ksh.110 billion investment plan for the next five years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
The initiative expands Google’s ongoing support for Africa’s digital transformation and entrepreneurship.
Google and Alphabet chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai made the announcement during Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event on October 6 that the firm would invest the said amount to support digital transformation on the continent.
“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. I am 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 startups,” he said.
Nitin Gajria, Google’s managing director for Africa, said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been more need for investment rounds in tech startups than ever before.
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“It is my firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than young African developers and startup founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership and support for Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs, ”he said.
Through the Africa Investment Fund, the company said it would invest Ksh.5 billion in startups and give them access to Google employees, networks and technologies to help them build products for their communities.
Small businesses in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa will also benefit from the company, with Ksh.1 billion set aside to pay them low-interest loans.
In 2017, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative with a commitment to train 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.
To date, Google said it has trained more than six million people in 25 African countries, with more than 60 percent of participants experiencing growth in their business.
Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with over 1.7 million shillings in investment and enabled hundreds of millions of Africans to access Internet services for the first time through Android.