Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed that the tech giant will invest $1 billion into Africa across the next five years.
Speaking at the company’s first Google for Africa event, Pichai said that the investment would boost connectivity and digital transformation as well as helping smaller businesses. He claimed that since opening its first African office, Google had enabled 100 million Africans to connect to the internet for the first time.
“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 Pichai. Google expects a further 300 million new internet users to be connected over the next five years, and is working to help train developers and create products tailored to the Africa market, including Android Go.
Of the $1 billion pledged, $50 million will go towards the newly created Africa Investment Fund, which will help start-up firms by providing easy access to Google employees, networks and technologies. Additionally, Google plans to provide $10 million in low-interest loans to smaller firms in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
A large portion of the investment will be spent on a subsea cable connecting Africa to Europe, which will land at Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and St. Helena. Projects in other countries including Uganda will also receive funding, while non-profit organisations in Africa will receive $40 million.