Google plans to invest $1 billion towards “digital transformation” in Africa

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At a recent Google4Africa event, the search engine juggernaut announced that it “…wants to make the Internet more helpful to people, businesses, and organisations in Africa.” In pursuit of this, the company has revealed that it would be committing $1 billion over 5 years towards “digital transformation” throughout Africa, part of which would be dedicated towards a new undersea internet cable.

Google4Africa, 4 the better

The undersea cable is set to drop internet prices and raise speeds for several African nations, including South Africa, Nigeria, St Helena, and Namibia, and would provide a direct internet link between Europe and Africa. Google says this new cable will provide twenty times more network capacity than the last undersea cable to connect us to our European neighbours. According to Nitin Gajria, managing director for Google in Africa, this should drop internet costs by around 21% and almost triple internet speeds in SA. 

The construction, maintenance and management of the cable is also projected to create around 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and SA by 2025. 

Part of the $1 billion will also be put towards investment projects around the continent. These are in the form of low-interest loans for smaller businesses and equity investments for startups.

$10 million worth of low-interest loans will be provided to small businesses in partnership with Kiva, an American non-profit organisation, specifically to relieve hardships brought on by COVID-19. These loans will be provided to businesses in Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

$50 million will be provided to burgeoning startups in Africa, provided by Google’s new African Investment Fund which will help them grow their businesses to the benefit of their communities.

 Google is also committed to providing skills training to prospective tech-industry workers. 

“I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and startup founders,” said Gaijria. “We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Source: TechCrunch

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