Google today announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation. The investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa. The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and livestreamed.
The planned $1billion investment announced today by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, will include:enabling affordable internet access and building helpful products, investments in entrepreneurship and technology,empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation, renewed funding for nonprofits
As part of this process Google is building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs. The subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
Over and above this Google will invest in Black-led startups in Africa by providing cash awards and hands-on support. This is in addition to Google’s existing support through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped more than 80 African startups with equity-free finance, working space and access to expert advisors over the last three years. Google also announced the launch of an Africa Investment Fund. Through this fund, the company will invest $50M in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.
The announcement expands Google’s ongoing support for Africa’s digital transformation and entrepreneurship. 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 has trained over 6 million people across 25 African countries, with over 60% of participants experiencing growth in their career and/or business as a result. Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with over $16million of investment, and enabled hundreds of millions of Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android.