Tech giant Google announced its plan to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to make sure the people get access to fast and cheaper internet, according to media reports. Additionally, the company will also invest $10 million in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa over this period.
The announcement was made by US tech company Alphabet during a virtual event where it launched an Africa Investment Fund. With the help of that fund, it will invest $50 million in startups, providing them with access to its employees, network and technologies.
Nitin Gajria, managing director for Google in Africa mentioned that the company would primarily target startups focusing on fintech, e-commerce and local language content. He told the media, “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.”
Often, the small businesses in Africa struggle to get capital because they lack the necessary collateral required by banks in case they default. Once the credit is available, the interest rates are usually too high, which makes the businesses not wanting to take loans.
Google mentioned that last year the Safaricom programme, that allowed customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in instalments would be expanded across the continent with mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and Vodacom.