Google has committed to investing $1 billion in the “digital transformation” of Africa over the next five years. Funds will be used to provide low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments in African startups and infrastructure to provide faster internet speeds.
“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. Today I’m excited to reaffirm our 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,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said during an event on Wednesday.
A major part of Google's investment involves a $10 million fund for Africa-based businesses. In partnership with nonprofit lending organization Kiva, Google will provide low-interest loans for small businesses across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am so inspired by the innovative African tech startup scene. In the last year we have seen more investment rounds into tech startups than ever before. 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," Nitin Gajria of Google said, according to Tech Crunch.
"We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs."
Another major part of Google's investment involves installing subsea cable across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena to boost internet speeds. Tech Crunch reports the project will boost internet speeds by 2,000% and create 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025.
“This will lead to a 21% reduction in internet prices and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa,” Gajria said.