by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – GOOGLE has recommitted to accelerate digital transformation and aid South Africa’s economy recovery.
This follows announcements made at the virtual Google for Africa event, in October last year.
Google and Alphabet Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, announced the former’s plan to invest $1 billion (R15.4 billio) over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
At a virtual Google for South Africa event on Wednesday (today), Google unpacked its support for startups, small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and nonprofits in a bid to enable fast, affordable internet access for more Africans.
This is anticipated to build helpful products, support entrepreneurship and small business as well as helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.
This as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year.
Nonprofits are deeply impacted by the pandemic.
The work done by these organisations to serve communities has been vital in helping South Africans over the past two years.
Google.org is awarding $500 000 in grant funding and training to Gift of the Givers and Food for Life South Africa to support them in their economic recovery.
Dr Alistair Mokoena, Country Director, Google South Africa, revealed to date, 22 South African nonprofit organisations have tapped into $6,5 million in Google.org grants to bolster their work.
They support under-served Black youth, SMMEs, and women with skills and knowledge to improve their livelihoods.
Startups in South Africa are hailed as having the potential to unlock a myriad of job opportunities through innovative thinking and products that seek to solve some of the country’s most pressing needs.
Through a rigorous and competitive selection process, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Africa Program has selected 50 top Black-led technology startups locally and across the continent to join the program.
The startups will receive $50 million in funding to help spur their growth as part of a broader Africa Investment Fund plan launched last year.
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister for Small Business Development, said digital markets and digital transformation were important enablers for the Department’s vision to ensure a transformed and inclusive economy.
This is driven by sustainable, innovative small, medium, and micro enterprises and cooperatives.
“The initiatives discussed today at Google for South Africa are strongly aligned to this vision,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
In the coming months, Google, in collaboration with Kiva and a local financial service provider will be disbursing $3 million in loans to qualifying small businesses in South Africa, unlocking further growth opportunities for SMMEs.
During last year’s Google for Africa event, Google highlighted Equiano, the subsea cable investment, to run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.
The cable, which is scheduled to land in South Africa later in the year, will almost triple internet speeds in South Africa and Namibia by 2025.
It will reduce connectivity costs.
This is a boost that is predicted to create 180 000 jobs in South Africa between 2022 and 2025 according to Google-commissioned research.
– CAJ News