Google has revealed its plans to launch its first product development centre in Africa, to be situated in Nairobi, Kenya. This announcement follows Google’s commitment in October last year, during the Google for Africa event, to invest over $1 billion over the next five years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
Suzanne Frey, Google’s Vice President for Products, at a Virtual Media Round Table, reiterated the company’s dedication to helping to fast-track Africa’s transformation through digital literacy and networks. She explained the decision to set up the centre in Nairobi, as Google’s plans at geographical spread across the continent. With physical offices in Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Lagos, Google spreads its corporate presence across the continent. From here, the software giant can expand further across the continent.
She went on to pinpoint the need for the committed investments of Google over the next five years to focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans across the continent, through building relevant products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as helping non-profits to improve lives across Africa.
The Managing Director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, further pointed out that this step by Google is only part of efforts at helping to consolidate Africa’s growth in internet penetration. According to him, there were 300 million internet users in Africa who were young, mobile-first, and had similar patterns to mobile youth globally.
Gajria went on to point out that by 2030, the continent would be home to over 800 million internet users and a third of the world’s under-35 population, with the potential for Africa to become a leading digital economy. Google was, therefore, committed to supporting the acceleration of Africa’s digital transformation through human capital development.
Hiring to stimulate growth
The Product Development Centre would be hiring engineers, product managers, UX designers, and data researchers to kickstart the laudable work of the centre towards Google’s overarching goals.
The centre aims at utilizing the talent that it would pool and grow with, in solving significant technical challenges that are peculiar to the people of Africa. They would aim at building a more reliable internet infrastructure to enhance connectivity on the continent, and also improve the smartphone experience for users in Africa.
Just this month, Microsoft had also launched its new facility office in Lagos, Nigeria, to house its Africa Development Center (ADC West Africa; initially launched in 2019) for software engineers in Africa. The ultra-modern office space cost Microsoft not less than $70 million and will serve as a co-working space for software engineers and other staff of Microsoft, with conference spaces, a nursery, and an innovation hub.
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