Google to invest $1 billion in Africa for cheaper, faster internet

U.S. tech giants Google says it plans to invest $1 billion to ensure that Africans have access to cheap and fast internet in the next five years.

Alphabet Inc, an arm of Google, made the announcement at the virtual launch of an Africa Investment Fund.

The tech giant said the investment fund will empower African startups with $50 million, giving them access to its employees, network and technologies.

Speaking on the investment fund, the managing director of Google in Africa Nitin Gajria said the organisation will target startups involved in fintech, e-commerce and local language content amongst others.

“We are looking at areas that may have some strategic overlap with Google and where Google could potentially add value in partnering with some of these startups,” Gajria in an interview with Reuters said.

The tech company also disclosed that it will be partnering with Kiva, a non-profit organisation to provide $10 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa bounce back from hardship created by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Mr Gajria also revealed that an undersea cable was currently being built to link Africa and Europe.

He said the cable link would come into service by the second half of next year and is expected to increase internet speeds by five times and lower data costs by up to 21% Nigeria and South Africa.

This development comes as a report by Cyber security firm Surfshark ranked Nigeria’s internet speed among the slowest yet most expensive in the world.

According to the report, the internet is “alarmingly pricey” for many Nigerians and many of those who have had to acquire internet working more than 35 hours to afford their internet expenses in Nigeria.

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