Google says it plans to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to ensure access to fast and cheaper internet. Efforts are also underway to back startups to support the continent’s digital transformation.
In collaboration with not-for-profit organisation Kiva, Google 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.
Google says a programme pioneered last year in Kenya in partnership with Safaricom that allows customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in instalments would be expanded across the continent with mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Vodacom.
Nitin Gajria, managing director for Google in Africa, in a virtual interview said that the company would among others, target startups focusing on fintech, e-commerce and local language content.
Gajria said an undersea cable being built is 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.