Addressing the issue of Internet connectivity in Africa, Google has announced to invest $1-billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation. Currently, less than a third of the continent’s 1.3 billion people are connected to broadband, according to the World Bank
This has pushed Tech giant, Google to take this initiative and focus on enabling fast, affordable Internet access for more Africans, with the aim to build products, support entrepreneurship, and small business, as well as help nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.
This is considered to be Google’s first-ever Africa event. Google has mapped out certain areas of work where their investment will go. For the beginning, they will start with building helpful products
to construct a global infrastructure so as to provide lower connectivity costs. The subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
Nitin Gajria, who is Google’s Africa managing director mentioned that he is of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and startup founders. Since the usage of smartphones is also hampered due to the unavailability of the internet, Google will also partner with Kenya’s telecoms giant Safaricom to launch affordable Android smartphones for first-time users.
It is also in the pipeline that in later years, outside players such as MTN, Airtel, Vodacom, and Orange will be included so that they too can be carriers of the network across the continent.
Google also announced the launch of an Africa Investment Fund. Using this fund the company is likely to invest $50-million in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities and markets.