At its first ever Google for Africa event, Google has announced that it will invest $1bn in the continent in an effort to support digital transformation across Africa.
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai led the virtual event in which the search giant laid out its plans to land a subsea cable into 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. Google expects this momentum to increase as 300m people go online in Africa over the next five years.
Picahi reflected on the company’s progress in Africa so far and explained that there is still more work to be done during his speech at Google for Africa, saying:
“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.”
Equiano subsea cable
As part of its efforts in Africa, Google will invest in projects that will be implemented in countries across the continent including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
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.
At the same time though, Equiano will lead to a 21 percent 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 1.7m jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025.
We’ll likely hear more about Google’s new Equiano subsea cable and how it has increased internet speeds in Africa once it has been deployed.