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Google gives updates on $1 billion commitment in Africa

Google today announced its intent to establish a new Google Cloud region in South Africa – it’s first on the continent. The news, which came at the second Google for Africa event, is the latest example of how Google is delivering on the $1bn investment commitment made last year by the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. 

The new Cloud Region will help users, developers, businesses, and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online, improve access options for customers, and in turn, create jobs. According to research by AlphaBeta Economics commissioned by Google Cloud, the South African cloud region will contribute more than a cumulative USD 2.1 billion to the country’s GDP and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030. 

While noting that Africa’s internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion by 2025 and contribute 5.2% of the continent’s GDP, Google said it is supporting African entrepreneurs in growing and developing their talent through the Hustle Academy and Google Business Profiles. It said it is also helping job seekers learn the skills they need through Developer Scholarships and Career Certifications. 

The tech giant added that it has since invested in three businesses over the past 9 months through its $50 million Africa Investment Fund which targets equity investments in tech startups. The three startups include 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.  

What they are saying 

Speaking during the Google for Africa event, Director of Google Cloud Africa, Niral Patel, said: “We believe in growing an open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals, which leads to more opportunities for businesses. It is part of our company-wide ethos to respect the environment, which is why we operate the cleanest cloud in the industry, supporting sustainable digital transformation. 

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“Along with the cloud region, we are expanding our network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi. In doing so, we are building full-scale Cloud capability for Africa, he added.  

Also speaking, Managing Director, Google Africa, Nitin Gajria, said: “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. 

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What you should know 

  • As part of the $1 billion commitment, Google has deployed the subsea cable, Equiano, which is now running through Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, and South Africa, and 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 the 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 is projected to 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. 



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