American multinational technology company, Google, has announced its plan to invest $1billion in African ecosystem across five years to support digital transformation in the region.
Aside from digital transformation, the search engine giant stated that it would land another submarine broadband cable that would run across Nigeria to other five African countries and connect them to Europe.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, said that the investment would include the landing of the subsea cable Equiano that would enable faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs.
According to him, the investment will focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.
Speaking on Wednesday during the Google for Africa event, Pichai said that the investmenent would also include low-interest loans to help small businesses and equity investments in African startups.
Listing the company’s Africa intervention since 2017, the CEO added that the company has trained 6 million young Africans and businesses in digital skills, adding that it has also supported more than 50 non-profits across Africa with over $16 million of grants, and enabled 100 million more Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android.
“Google is building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs. The subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
“Internet access in Africa is further hampered by the affordability of smartphones. Android has developed a device locking technology as part of the Android platform that will enable partners to offer financed devices.
“Google has collaborated with Kenya’s largest carrier Safaricom to support the launch of the first “Device Financing” plan in Kenya, and will expand this initiative across Africa with partners like Airtel, MKOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings and Vodacom, and more.
“These partnerships will help millions of first-time smartphone users gain access to quality, affordable Android smartphones. Plus Codes are a free and open source addressing system to provide addresses for everyone. The government of Gambia has adopted this in providing addresses for residents and businesses across the capital Banjul and are now scaling to the rest of the country,” Pichai said.