Google has on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, announced that it will invest USD One billion in Africa, over the next 5 years to boost internet access and support entrepreneurship across the continent.
The U.S tech base company announced this plan at a virtual event where it launched an Africa Investment Fund, through which it will invest USD 50 million in startups, providing them with access to its employees, network and technologies.
According to Nitin Gajria, the managing director for Google in Africa, this investment made by the company will be targeting fintech, e-commerce and local content.
“We are looking for areas that may have some strategic overlap with Google and where Google could potentially add value in partnering with some of these startups,” Gajria stated.
Google in collaboration with Kiva, a not for profit organisation, will also provide $10 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa so they can get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19.
Small businesses in Africa often struggle to get capital because they lack the necessary collateral required by banks in case they default. When credit is available, interest rates are usually too high.
Google states that a programme was pioneered last year in Kenya in partnership with Safaricom that allows customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in instalments that would be expanded across the continent with mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Vodacom.
Gajria said an undersea cable being built by Google to link Africa and Europe should come into service in the second half of next year and is expected to increase internet speeds by five times and lower data costs by up to 21% in countries like South Africa and Nigeria.