Google said that it would be investing $1 billion to support digital transformation across Africa. This will include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training and more.
The tech company will inject the investment in projects to be implemented in countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
During the ‘Google for Africa’ event where this was revealed, Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai said he was excited to reaffirm further 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
“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”, he stated.
The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. It will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa, said the managing director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria.
The project is expected to lead to a 21% reduction in internet prices and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa.
It is projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Google also announced the launch of the Africa Investment Fund, where it plans to invest $50 million in start-ups across the continent providing them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.
The company said it will additionally disburse $10 million in low-interest loans to small businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, to alleviate hardships brought about by the COVID pandemic.
This will be done in partnership with Kiva, a San-Francisco based nonprofit lending organization. It pledged $40 million to nonprofits improving lives in Africa.