The investment will include a subsea cable into Africa, low-interest loans for small businesses and more.
Google has announced that it will be investing $1 billion to support digital transformation across Africa. This will include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speed, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training and more.
“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,” said Google partner Alphabet’s CEO, Sundar Pichai.
Google said it will inject the investment into projects to be implemented in countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe, providing approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa. “This will lead to a 21 percent reduction in internet prices and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa,” said Google Africa managing director Nitin Gajria.
The investment is projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Google also announced the launch of the African 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”.
Additionally, Google will 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-19 pandemic. This will be done in partnership with Kiva, a San-Francisco based nonprofit lending organisation, which has pledged $40 million to nonprofits improving lives in Africa.
“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. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Nitin.