Google’s US$1bn investment in Africa signals confidence says firm’s SA boss
The Country Director of Google South Africa, Dr. Alistair Mokoena, says the company’s US$1bn investment over the next five years on the African continent is a testament that multinationals have confidence in Africa’s growth.
The tech company has already announced a $1 bn in Africa over the next five years to ensure access to fast and cheaper internet and will back startups to support the continent’s digital transformation.
The company would be targeting among others, startups focusing on fintech, e-commerce and local language content.
Speaking to Business24 on the sidelines of this year’s Annual Nation Brand Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Mokoena said “what we have done through our announcement of a billion dollars across Africa over the next five years is that we have given the nod to Africa’s business opportunity to Africa’s viability as an investment opportunity that sends signals that big multinationals have confidence in Africa’s growth.”
Africa has 1.2billion inhabitants and only just over 300million are on the internet, Dr.Mokoena revealed, “so there is still a long way to go in terms of ensuring there is inclusive growth, broad access to the internet by every African.
So, what we will do with this investment is that we will bring faster, cheaper, reliable internet access to the continent.”
According to him, the initiative from Brand South Africa with a mandate of nation branding, driving investment into the country and boosting tourism all aligns with Google’s plans to foster partnerships and collaborations on the continent.
He disclosed that the company has constructed a subsea cable that has landed in Togo,Nigeria,Namibia and recently in Cape Town aimed at connecting the continent.
The company has also announced the establishment of Google Cloud region bringing cloud services closer to the continent, which would be connected by four interconnect sites in Lagos, Niarobi,Cape Town and Johannesburg, giving the continent full scale cloud capability.
Further, Dr.Mokoena explained that user experience on the internet is determined by internet access, speed, bandwidth, capacity and cloud is a big storage enabler.
“With e-commerce, fintech growing on the continent. All these developers on the continent trying to create jobs rely on this infrastructure spend and also, we know that Africa’s economy is driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses that is why we have launched the Africa Investment Fund [US$50m] to power small businesses across the continent.”