The digital landscape of Africa presents many investment opportunities, given that internet connectivity is poor and smartphone penetration is low. One company ready to go all-in is Google. Google revealed its plan to invest $1 billion in Africa, and it is projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Google revealed today in an event that it would be investing $1 billion to support “digital transformation” across Africa. This will include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training, and more, TechCrunch reported.
The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. It will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa, said the managing director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria.
Google said it would inject the investment in projects in countries across the continent, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.
“This will lead to a 21 percent reduction in internet prices and increase internet speed in Nigeria and almost triple in South Africa,” said Gajria.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of google and Alphabet led this event. This shows the importance the tech giant is placing on this investment. To quote TechCrunch, putting the most senior executive at the company at the top of the event being a mark of the priority that the company is placing on the bet it’s making here.
“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,” said Pichai.
Google's other plan
- Launch of the Africa Investment Fund - Google plans to 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.”
- Disbursement of $10 million in low-interest loans to small businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, to alleviate hardships brought about by the Covid pandemic. This will be done in partnership with Kiva, a San-Francisco based non-profit lending organization. It pledged $40 million to non-profits improving lives in Africa.