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Google begins $1b Africa investment


Google announced yesterday that it is expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and constructing specialised cloud connection facilities in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi in keeping with its pledge to invest $1 billion in Nigeria and other African nations.

At the second Google for Africa event yesterday in Lagos, Niral Patel, director of Google Cloud Africa, announced the company’s intention to launch a new Google Cloud region in South Africa, its first on the continent. He said it is the latest illustration of how Google is honouring the $1 billion investment commitment made by the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, last year.

According to him, the new Cloud Region will assist users, developers, enterprises, and educational institutions throughout Africa in moving more data and tools online, enhancing customer access options, and ultimately generating employment. Based on research conducted by AlphaBeta Economics under contract for Google Cloud, the South African cloud region would assist the development of more than 40,000 jobs and more than $2.1 billion in cumulative GDP by 2030.

Customers throughout the continent are working with Google Cloud to address their most pressing business issues, get online, and take advantage of modern technology. Google Cloud collaborates with major retailer TakeAlot in South Africa to give their three million local customers a hassle-free online shopping experience. TakeAlot used Google Cloud to build its e-commerce platform, which helped the company stay up and running even during busy times like Black Friday. When working with Twiga Foods in Kenya, a tech-driven startup addressing and enhancing food security in Africa, Google Cloud enables them to link 1,000 farmers to 140,000 traders, delivering 12,000 orders daily, and storing two million kg of fresh vegetables.

Google announced intentions to open its first African product development centre in Nairobi earlier this year in order to create better goods for both Africans and the rest of the globe. The Google keyboard, Gboard, now supports voice typing in nine additional African languages: isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Kinyarwanda, Northern Sotho, Swati, Sesotho, Tswana, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. Additionally, Google Translate now supports 24 additional languages, including Lingala, which is spoken by more than 45 million people in Central Africa.

Google updated Street View with approximately 30,000 kilometres of new imagery in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, and Nigeria to enhance the usefulness of Maps. On Google Maps, this enables users to digitally explore and navigate neighbourhoods.

Additionally, they are expanding the service to Rwanda, making a total of 11 African nations currently offering Street View. By 2025, the internet economy in Africa might reach $180 billion, or 5.2% of the continent’s GDP. Google continues to assist African small businesses in growing and developing their talent while also assisting job seekers in gaining the necessary skills through Developer Scholarships and Career Certifications. Google also continues to support African small businesses through the Hustle Academy and Google Business Profiles.

Google has since invested in three companies over the past nine months through its $50 million Africa Investment Fund, which focuses on equity investments in tech startups. These companies are SafeBoda, a transportation app in Uganda and Nigeria, Carry1st, a South African mobile gaming startup, and Lori Systems, an e-logistics company with headquarters in Kenya.

Among the accomplishments is the underwater cable, Equiano, which currently connects St. Helena, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, and South Africa with Europe. Equiano is projected to bring quicker, less expensive internet to the continent. According to a recent economic effect assessment by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics, by 2025, the cable is expected to boost economic growth, with GDPs in Nigeria, South Africa, and Namibia each increasing by USD 10.1 billion, USD 7 billion, and USD 260 million, respectively. Equiano should, thanks to the growth of the digital economy and ancillary industries, indirectly generate 1.6 million jobs in Nigeria, 180,000 in South Africa, and 21,000 in Namibia during the same period.

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