At the first Google for Africa event held on Wednesday, Global tech giant, Google through its Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, announced plans to invest $1billion over 5-years to support “digital transformation” across Africa. The committed sum is targeted at improving connectivity and investing in start-ups.
Nitin Gajria, managing director – Google in Africa, stated that Google is invested in building a global infrastructure for connectivity in Africa, one such infrastructure includes Equiano Subsea Cable that will connect Africa with Europe. Nitin Gajria stated that tremendous progress is ongoing regarding the construction of the subsea cable branches landing in Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, and St Helena.
According to Nitin Gajria, Equiano will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa and will lead to a 21% drop in internet prices and a 5-fold increase in internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa. Also, between 2022 and 2025, Equiano will create 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa, driven by the expansion in the digital economy and peripheral sectors.
“I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and start-up founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.” Nitin Said.
Also commenting on Africa’s digital transformation, Mariam Abdullahi, Google’s director – Platforms and Ecosystems Google Africa, acknowledged that now more than ever is the time for Africa’s digital transformation, and to achieve the same, investments are to be made in connectivity, devices, and products.
Google also announced the launch of the Africa Investment Fund, where it will invest $50 million in start-ups across the continent to provide them “with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.” Also, in partnership with Kiva, Google will additionally disburse $10 million in business loans to small businesses to alleviate hardships brought about by the COVID pandemic.
It is expected that these initiatives are going to catalyse Africa’s digital transformation.