Google has officially launched its product development center in Nairobi, Kenya. The project, which was established in April, will hire over a hundred African engineers, software developers, designers, and product managers in order to build products for the African market.
The Need to Improve Internet Access
A significant portion of Google's product development center's mandate will be to improve the African Internet and smartphone experience by constructing a dependable infrastructure on which various services can be anchored.
This will improve services for Africa's 300 million Internet users while also assisting in the onboarding of the estimated 500 million who will connect over the next decade. Google will also invest $1 billion in Internet access across the continent over the next five years, which will aid economies in hastening their digital transformation. The company also believes Africa will have around 800 million internet users by the end of this decade, making it a desirable investment location.
The Improving Web Ecosystem
Google’s move comes at a time when companies such as Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook are all moving to set up offices and teams across Africa to build locally while forming partnerships to help small businesses, non-profits, governments, and social entrepreneurs trying to use technology to improve their lives. In fact, Microsoft has already been investing roughly $100 million in technology development hubs in both Kenya and Nigeria, employing hundreds of engineers.
Improving and Expanding Products and Services
Fast and reliable Internet also means more access to education, e-commerce platforms, and access to capital and loans through fintech services. Access to new markets for importers and exporters that are linked to new and faster payment platforms are innovations that have the potential to transform intra-African trade and exports out of the continent.
“We have 300 million people on the internet in the region [Africa] today. We also know that in the course of the rest of this decade, we’re going to have another half a billion people who will experience internet for the very first time, which is why it is incredibly important that we build products and experiences that are helpful to these people that are going to be experiencing the internet just in Africa,” stated Nitin Gajria, Google's managing director for sub-Saharan Africa.
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