Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful with a firm commitment to improving people’s lives with technology.

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

Africa is a hub of innovation and innovative uses of technology. As a land of opportunity, Africans can shape and solve the challenges they face daily. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai have pledged to invest $1billion in the next five years to cover a range of initiatives, from improved connectivity to investments in startups.

Google has seen how technology can be a lifeline as a leading tech company. The company takes action by developing products and creating partnerships to effect social change. Universal accessibility and usefulness are fundamental ingredients for building Africa. That is the core of Google’s mission.

“Expanding opportunity through technology is deeply personal to me,” said Pichai. “That’s because I grew up without much access to it. Every new technology — from the rotary phone to the television — changed my family’s life for the better. That’s why I’m a technology optimist. I believe in how people can harness it for good.

Africa is a cradle of opportunity: innovation is increasingly beginning in Africa and then mushrooming worldwide. Africa is a place of early adopters; let’s not forget that people in Africa were among the first to access the internet through a phone rather than a computer; mobile money was ubiquitous in East Africa before the world adopted it.

Over 300 million people will come online in Africa over the next five years. Many of these will be young, creative, and entrepreneurial – and they’ll be ready to drive new innovation and opportunity across the continent.

Google’s Equiano subsea cable will improve connectivity, resilience and latency for people living and working in Africa.

Said Pichai: “It’s been incredible to see the rapid pace of change in a short amount of time, and be a partner on that journey. Since we opened our first offices in Africa, we’ve enabled 100 million Africans to access the internet for the first time and empowered millions of businesses and creators with digital tools.

“A big focus has been on expanding opportunity through digital skills. In 2017, we committed to help 10 million Africans get the digital skills they need to grow their careers and businesses. So far, we’ve trained six million people. We’ve also trained 80,000 developers from every country in Africa and supported more than 80 startups to raise global venture capital funding, creating thousands of jobs.”

In 2018, Google opened an artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in Accra, Ghana. The team is focused on solving challenges relevant to Africa and the world, like using AI to map buildings that are hard to detect using traditional tools and adding 200,000 kilometres of roads on Google Maps.

Google continually builds for Africa’s unique needs. Products like Android Go and Files Go ensure that everyone can have a great smartphone experience. On YouTube, it supports Black creators and artists with its Black Voices Fund. With its USD $1-billion investment over five years, it will cover a range of initiatives to reach even more people through digital transformation in four key areas:

• Enabling affordable access and building products for every kind of African user
• Helping businesses with their digital transformation • Investing in entrepreneurs to spur next-generation technologies
• Supporting non-profits working to improve lives across Africa

Google partners with African governments, policymakers, educators, entrepreneurs and businesses.

Opportunities abound for Africa to shape the next wave of innovation with Google products, support, and initiatives empowering millions of Africa’s people.


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