Google to invest $1 billion in Africa over five years

Google is planning to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to ensure access to fast and cheaper internet and will back technology startups.
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The Alphabet unit made the announcement at a virtual event where it launched an Africa Investment Fund, through which it will invest $50 million in startups, providing them with access to its employees, network and technologies.

Google will also provide $10 million in low interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19. Google has tied up with not-for-profit organization Kiva.

“I’m 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 Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.

Google said a program pioneered last year in Kenya in partnership with telecom operator Safaricom that allows customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in installments would be expanded across the continent with mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Vodacom.

The company has been building an undersea cable to link Africa and Europe, which it says will bring faster internet and lower connectivity costs.