Google will invest $1 billion over the next five years in Africa to ensure fast, cheaper internet access and support startups for the continent’s digital transformation, it announced on Wednesday.
A unit of Alphabet Inc announced the investment at a virtual event, where it unveiled the Africa Investment Fund, which will invest $50 million in startups, providing them with access to its employees, network, and technology.
Google will also provide $10 million to Kiva, a not-for-profit organization, to help small businesses and entrepreneurs endure the economic hardship created by COVID-19 in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
“I am pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Africa by investing $1 billion over five years to support a range of initiatives, from improved connectivity to investments in startups,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.
In a statement, Google said a program pioneered in Kenya last year in partnership with Safaricom would be expanded across the continent with mobile operators such as MTN, Orange, and Vodacom.
It is building an undersea cable to connect Africa and Europe, which it says will result in faster internet and lower connectivity costs.