Google, the tech giant, owned by Alphabet Inc, has announced that it is investing in its first-ever Africa product development center in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Company executives disclosed that it wants to position itself to serve a growing base of internet users on the African continent.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated last year that his company is investing $1 billion in various projects on the continent over five years, to help economies accelerate their digital transformation.
It is projected that by the end of this decade, the African continent will host 800 million internet users, the California-based firm said, and a third of the world’s youth population, making it an attractive investment destination. They plan is to build “transformative” products and services for the African market and the world.
Google says it will hire over 100 tech talent including software engineers, researchers, and designers over the next two years to help solve difficult and technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa or building more reliable internet infrastructure, said Google VP for products, Suzanne Frey and Nitin Gajria, the head of Google Africa.
The center in Nairobi is Google’s second major research and development investment in Africa after the tech giant set up an AI and research center in Ghana in 2019 focusing on innovations that can be applied to various challenges. They join a growing list of tech giants, including Microsoft and Visa, setting up innovation hubs in Africa.
“Africa has been at the forefront of innovation, and we believe that we are going to continue to develop and innovate right here from the continent,” said Google’s policy lead for Sub-Saharan Africa Charles Murito during the briefing.