Google to Invest $1 billion for African Digital Transformation

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The digital transformation investment will focus first on building a reliable, fast internet infrastructure in more areas of the continent. Other investment areas include supporting entrepreneurship and small business and aiding nonprofit work.

Earlier this fall, Google announced that it will invest $1 billion over five years to bring Africa’s digital transformation into reality. The investment will focus first on building a reliable, fast internet infrastructure in more areas of the continent. Other investment focus areas include supporting entrepreneurship and small business, aiding nonprofit work, and building better products.

Google announced its new initiative at its first-ever Google for Africa event. The investment covers several critical stages.

Affordable internet access and product building:

  • A subsea cable running Namibia, South Africa, and Nigeria will connect Africa with Europe.
  • A collaboration with Android and Kenya’s Safaricom will enable smartphone financing with plans to expand thanks to other partners like Airtel, M-KOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings, and Vodacom.
  • Plus Codes offer open-source addressing systems to provide everyone with addresses needed for business and other commerce needs. Plus Codes are currently in deployment in the Gambia with plans to expand to South Africa, Kenya, and other areas.

Investments in entrepreneurship and technology:

  • Google will invest in Black-led startups in Africa through a Black Founders Fund.
  • The launch of an Africa Investment Fund will provide $50 million to startups, as well as access to Google employees, network, and technology.

Empowering businesses:

  • Kiva and Google will provide $10 million in low-interest loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs to overcome Covid-19 hardship.
  • Loans will launch in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Renewed funding for nonprofits:

  • Google will provide $40 million to nonprofit partners responding to needs in African communities.
  • $3 million in new grant funding will also go to expand initiatives in ten new cities across five countries.

See also: Dual Purpose IoT Forest Management System

Building on Google’s digital transformation past support

The announcement builds on Google’s previous work within the continent. It also supports Google’s efforts to showcase the creative talent and artistic legacy of the continent. Past initiatives include Grow with Google—committed to training 10 million young Africans—and $16 million in nonprofit investments so far.

Elizabeth Wallace

About Elizabeth Wallace

Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do.

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