One mission Google has is to invest in initiatives that aid digital transformation, and their latest funding will go toward the continent of Africa.
During its very first “Google for Africa” on Oct. 6, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will invest $1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa, according to TechCrunch.
“We’ve made huge strides together over the past decade — but there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African,” Pichai said during the virtual event. “Today I’m excited to 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.”
The $1 billion investment will go toward “landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training and more.”
The company also announced it will invest up to $50 million in early and growth-stage African startups to support more businesses across the continent, TechCrunch reports.
Through its Africa Investment Fund, the company is helping to lessen the gap in funding accessibility and will provide African startups with access to its employees, network and technologies.
“There is a significant gap in terms of access to funding. Some groups do not have access to funding as much as other groups. We’ve seen that with Black and female-founded startups. And our effort with the Black Founders Fund is to help close that gap to some extent,” said Nithin Gajria, the managing director of Sub-Saharan Africa, Google.
Prior to this new funding, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa — a three-month accelerator program for Seed to Series A technology startups across the continent — has helped provide equity-free mentorship and resources to more than 80 startups so far.