Despite having the lowest Internet connectivity, Africa has the greatest potential for growth. Tech giants including Google are therefore moving fast to fuel the continent’s digital growth.
According to a report by industry trade group Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), nearly 20 million more Africans subscribed to a mobile connection during the pandemic period on 2020.
Last year, Google issued a joint report with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation with a forecast of Africa’s economy to be worth $180 billion in value by 2025.
Speaking to Kenyan-born CNN Journalist Larry Madowo, Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Niton Gajria outlined the company’s role towards the continent’s digital inclusion.
Google last month announced a $1 billion dollar fund commitment over the next five years to improve connectivity, support enterprenuers and small businesses find success online and to renew its non-profit partnerships on the continent.
Gajria said the announcement has fueled Google’s focus on grants for Startups and infrastructure to improve connectivity.
He said the number of Internet users in Africa is expected to increase by about 300 million in the next two to five years, necessitating enhanced Internet connections with the right speeds and bandwidth. The company’s “Equiano” subsea cable with landing points in Nigeria and Namibia is expected to connect Africa to Europe.
“This type of capacity that Equiano is going to bring in will have a profound effect on internet speeds, on data costs and just the overall internet experience in the places that impacts.” He said.
Gajria added that where was a need to create an internet that one can interact with through voice or products that can work in local languages, based on the fact that the next one billion people will use the Internet for a different purpose than the current.
He said Africa’s young population has the potential to birth a generation of talented developers who will go on to contribute to the continent’s growth.
“I do believe that developers are an essential ingredient in any vibrant internet ecosystem. We do see an opportunity and some headroom in terms of growth for developer talent.” He added.
The MD added that there was a need to bridge the internet gap to be more inclusive. Africa has a population of about 1.billion, and out of these, about 800 million are yet to experience or use an Internet connection.
The Tech giant recently announced an additional $50 million Africa investment fund aimed at the growth state startups.