Large internet companies have the greatest chance of growth in the developing world, and one of the largest has just announced its strategy.
Google announced that it will invest $1 billion in Africa to support digital transformation. This includes landing a submarine cable on the continent to allow faster internet speeds, low interest loans for small businesses and equity investments in African startups.
These plans were revealed today at an event hosted by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google. The placing of the highest ranking executive of the company at the summit of the event is a sign of the importance that the company places on the bet it's making here
Although we have made great strides over the last decade, there is still much to be done to make the internet affordable, accessible, and usable for all Africans. Pichai said that today I am excited to renew my commitment to Africa through an investment of $1B over five years to help support Africa's digital transformation. This will cover a variety of initiatives, including improved connectivity and investment in startups.
Google stated that it would invest in projects in Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
The submarine cable will connect Africa and Europe by running through South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria. Nitin Gajria, the managing director of Google in Africa, stated that it will have a network capacity approximately 20 times greater than the last one built to serve Africa.
Gajria stated that this will result in a 21 percent drop in internet prices, and an increase in internet speed in Nigeria. It could also triple the speed in South Africa.
As the digital economy expands, it is expected to create approximately 1.7 million jobs in Nigerian and South African by 2025.
Google also announced the creation of the Africa Investment Fund. This fund will invest $50 Million in African start-ups. It provides them with access Google's network, employees, and technologies that help them create meaningful products for their communities.
To alleviate the hardships caused by the Covid pandemic, the company also announced that it would disburse $10,000,000 in low-interest loans for small businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Kenya. Kiva, a San Francisco-based non-profit lending institution, will partner with the company. It has pledged $40 million for non-profits that improve lives in Africa.
The innovative African tech startup scene is inspiring me. We have seen more investments in tech startups over the past year than ever before. I believe that Africa's young entrepreneurs and developers are better equipped to solve Africa's most pressing problems. Gajria said that we look forward to strengthening our partnership with and supporting Africa's entrepreneurs and innovators.