Google announces $1bn fund to support digital transformation in Africa over 5 years

David Afolayan
Google announces $1bn fund to support digital transformation in Africa over 5 years
Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Inc., Sundar Pichai

Google today announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation. The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and live-streamed.

The planned $1billion investment was announced today by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.

This will include a plan to enable individuals and businesses to access affordable internet access, building helpful products, invest in entrepreneurship and technology, empowering businesses to embark on their digital transformation and provide funding for nonprofits.

The investment will include the landing of the subsea cable Equiano which will enable faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs. It also includes low-interest loans to help small businesses and equity investments in African startups.

CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai 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 $1B over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups.” 

The announcement expands Google’s ongoing support for Africa’s digital transformation and entrepreneurship.

In 2017, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative with a commitment to training 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.

The investment will focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa
Nitin Gajria – Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Google

Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa added: 

“I am so inspired by the innovative African tech startup scene. In the last year, we have seen more investment rounds into tech startups than ever before. I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and startup founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.”

To date, Google has trained over 6 million people across 25 African countries, with over 60% of participants experiencing growth in their career and/or business as a result.

Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with over $16million of investment and enabled hundreds of millions of Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android.

Present at the event, South Africa’s Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams said

“I am happy to note that Google has been active in supporting Small to Medium Enterprises, dedicating even more resources to this sector, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last 12 months, Google has helped close to 500,000 African businesses get online and reach new customers.”

Providing a platform for African cultural treasures and collections

Since 2012, the Google Arts & Culture team has partnered with institutions across the continent to preserve and promote their collections, providing a free online platform that anyone around the world can access.

The investment will focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa
Juliet Ehimuan – Country Director, Google Nigeria

The result is hundreds of expertly curated stories about Africa by Africans. This includes a new project called ‘Cradle of Creativity’ dedicated to the creative history and heritage of Africa.

In collaboration with the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art in Nigeria and the Origins Centre in South Africa, people across the globe can explore more than five hundred high-resolution images, sixty expertly-curated stories with audio narrations, as well as Street View virtual tours, helping to showcase Africa’s creative talent and heritage.


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