Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Philly Mapulane (South Africa): “Our National Development Plan 2030 calls for stimulating growth in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector and innovation by driving public and private ICT investment, especially in network upgrades and expansion. Google's recent efforts in this regard have been particularly encouraging. The Equiano cable landed in Cape Town recently, and the improved speed and reduced internet costs that this can deliver has the potential to drive much fuller Internet participation for many more South Africans.”
Earlier this year, Google announced plans to open its first African product development centre in Nairobi to develop and build better products for Africans and the world.
Today, Google announced the launch of voice typing support for nine more African languages in Gboard, the Google keyboard (isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Kinyarwanda, Northern Sotho, Swati, Sesotho, Tswana,Tshivenda and Xitsonga) – while 24 new languages are now supported on Google Translate, including Lingala, which is used by more than 45 million people across Central Africa.
To make Maps more useful, Google also refreshed Street View in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal and Nigeria with nearly three hundred thousand kilometres of imagery. This helps people virtually explore and navigate neighbourhoods on Google Maps. They are also extending the service to Rwanda, meaning that Street View is now available in 11 African countries.
Africa’s internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion by 2025 – 5.2% of the continent’s GDP. To support African entrepreneurs in growing and developing their talent, Google continues to support African small businesses through the Hustle Academy and Google Business Profiles, and to help job seekers learn the skills they need through Developer Scholarships and Career Certifications.
Google, through its $50 million Africa Investment Fund that targets equity investments in tech startups, has since invested in three businesses over the past 9 months - SafeBoda, a transportation app in Uganda and Nigeria, Carry1st, a South African mobile gaming startup and Lori Systems, an e- logistics company based in Kenya.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director, Google Africa added “We are collaborating with governments, policymakers, NGOs, telcos, business leaders, creators and media so that we can help accelerate Africa’s digital transformation. And it’s the talent and drive of the individuals in the countries and communities of Africa that will power Africa’s economic growth,” he adds.
Milestones achieved include the subsea cable, Equiano, now running through Togo, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa, which is expected to deliver faster, lower cost internet to the continent by connecting St. Helena, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa with Europe. A recent economic impact assessment conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics found that by 2025, the cable is set to accelerate economic growth with GDPs of Nigeria rising by USD 10.1 billion, South Africa USD 7 billion and USD 260 million in Namibia. During the same time, Equiano should indirectly create 1.6 million jobs in Nigeria, 180,000 in South Africa and 21,000 in Namibia, driven by the expansion of the digital economy and peripheral sectors.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu (Ghana): “This event provides a quintessential platform for us as Africans, together with our partners, to demonstrate the importance of helpful partnerships between governments and the private sector in addressing African challenges. The Ghanaian government is proud of our partnership with Google through several initiatives.”
Google is also supporting nonprofits working to improve lives in Africa with a $40 million cash and in-kind commitment. Last year, 7,500 career scholarships were disbursed to help young people learn new skills and build their careers while Uganda’s AirQo received a $3 million grant to support the expansion of their work on monitoring air quality from Kampala to ten cities in five countries on the continent.
Recently Google partnered with the UN to launch the Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI), a global partnership aiming to accelerate Africa’s economic growth and sustainable development.