The tech company reveals it is investing $1bn to support entrepreneurs and developers, to use artificial intelligence and self-driving cars to help create a ‘genuine economic ecosystem’ in Africa
After $1 billion investment, Google pledges to build a more ‘vibrant and dynamic’ digital ecosystem in Africa
A year after pledging $1bn in investment in startups across Africa, Google has announced it is planning to scale up its efforts in the continent.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with the African Union Commission chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and other government officials in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Friday to discuss the company’s plans.
The investment, which Pichai announced in 2017 at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Davos, was the largest ever private investment in African start-ups. Google says it has since invested “significant” sums in organisations in every African country.
“We’re increasing our investment in African tech and governments need to do more to help local entrepreneurs create an economy that works for everyone. That’s why we’re increasing our commitment to create a more vibrant and dynamic digital ecosystem in Africa,” Google senior vice-president (Africa) Efe Cakarel said in a statement.
Cakarel added that Google is “facilitating startups to bring their ideas to scale in whatever way it works for them”, pointing to the way the company teamed up with several African startup leaders including Deepend, Goity, Gartner, Kwanz, Centra, Breeze, Cozi, Helpshift, DroneSolutions and Akzinga.
Google has since set up four “cloud studios” across Africa that let developers work with the company’s cloud platform Google Cloud and its machine learning-powered technology Google Assistant.
Pichai visited Nigeria to announce its $10m investment in African start-ups last year. And at Google’s annual Summit conference in March this year, the company launched a $5m innovation fund that will support African developers.
The Pan African partnership framework – which launched in Africa on Friday – is a “comprehensive suite of tools to help African governments implement and defend their digital spaces and operate a smart digital economy on the continent,” Google says.
“We’re so optimistic about the future of digital business on the continent.”