Tech giant, Google, has announced it would be investing $1 billion to support digital transformation across Africa, with Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana as the beneficiary countries of the investment, TechCrunch reports. The investment will include landing a subsea cable called Equiano into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training, and more. The plans were unveiled at an event led by Google and Alphabet chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai, who disclosed that the company made huge strides over the past decade.
”But there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable, and useful for every African,” reaffirming Google’s commitment to Africa through the investment of $1 billion over five years to support the continent’s digital transformation, Pichai stressed.
The investment, which would cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups, would be implemented in countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. Equiano: Subsea cable Managing director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, said the subsea cable would cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena connecting Africa and Europe. Equiano would lead to a 21 per cent reduction in internet prices and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa and projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in the two countries by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Meanwhile, Google also announced the launch of the Africa Investment Fund, where it will 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 initiative will be done in partnership with Kiva, a San-Francisco based non-profit lending organisation that pledged $40 million to non-profits improving lives in Africa.
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