Google announced that it will invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to ensure that the continent has access to fast and affordable internet, as well as backing companies to accelerate the continent’s digital transformation.
The news was made at a virtual event when Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) announced the formation of an Africa Investment Fund, through which it will invest $50 million in businesses and provide them with access to its staff, network, and technologies.
Google will also contribute $10 million in low-interest loans to small companies and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, in conjunction with the non-profit Kiva, to help them get through the economic hardship caused by COVID-19.
Small enterprises in Africa frequently face difficulties obtaining funding because they lack the requisite collateral that banks require in the event of a default. When financing is accessible, the interest rates are frequently excessive.
Google announced that a program launched last year in Kenya in cooperation with Safaricom that allows customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in installments will be expanded across Africa alongside mobile operators MTN, Orange, and Vodacom.