Science and Technology

Google to partner with Safaricom in addition to $1B investment in Africa for faster internet access

Google said will invest $1 billion over the next five years to support “digital transformation” and entrepreneurship across Africa. 

This will allow for faster and more affordable internet access and connectivity in the continent.

The investment also will include a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training.

Google said the projects will be implemented in countries across Africa including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.

The subsea cable will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. 

According to the managing director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, this will provide 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa.

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The tech company said it will also partner with Kenya’s telecoms giant Safaricom to launch affordable Android smartphones for first-time users.

The project will later be rolled out with other carriers such as Airtel, MTN, Orange, and Vodacom.

The plans were unveiled on Wednesday at an event led by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

“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,” said Pichai.

Google will additionally provide $10 million in low-interest loans to small businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, to alleviate hardships brought about by the COVID pandemic.

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