Search giant, Google, has announced plans to invest $1billion in multi-projects over the next five years in four countries to support digital transformation and small businesses across Africa.
Google will invest in projects that will be implemented in countries across the continent including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
Unveiling this at its first ever Google for Africa event, Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, who led the virtual event, said part of the plan is to land a new Equiano subsea cable in the continent to provide faster internet speeds, offer low-interest loans for small businesses, invest into African startups and more.
One of the reasons behind Google’s investment is that it wants to help foster innovation in Africa that will then spread throughout the world. For instance, African users were among the first to access the internet through a phone rather than through a computer and mobile money was ubiquitous in Kenya before being adopted by the rest of the world according to a new blog post from Pichai.
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.
Google expects this momentum to increase as 300 million people go online in Africa over the next five years.
Speaking further, Picahi, who reflected on the company’s progress in Africa so far, said: “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.”
The new Equiano subsea cable will connect Africa to Europe by cutting across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena. According to Managing Director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, this new cable will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa.
This is also expected to lead to a 21% reduction in internet prices while increasing speed in Nigeria, and almost tripling speeds in South Africa. This new subsea cable is also projected to create around 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025.
Indeed, by the end of this year, Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to achieve significantly increased access to information and communication technology (ICT), and to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries (LDCs).