5 gifts Google gave Nigeria and Africa during the first visit of its CEO to the continent

Major tech multinational companies have found a new love in Africa, hence are doing their all to get most from the region.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Adesuwa Onyenokwe on stage at Google For Nigeria

Just as an earlier visit of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder to Kenya & Rwanda brought the promise of $10 million in grants for online business in Africa, Google used Sundar Pichai’s visit to announce the launch of some of the products that would change the tech landscape in Nigeria and Africa.

These gifts are in form of various programs, grants and products that are aimed at African consumers.

1.   ICE 2 – a $40 smartphone

The device has the latest version of Android and will cost $40 (N12, 240)

This would be a game changer for the smart phone market in Nigeria. Low-income earners can now afford a smartphone which helps integration into the new media phenomenon.

2.    Digital Skills for Africa

Digital Skills for Africa was initiated in 2016 to help bridge digital knowledge gap in Africa by training one million young people.

At the Lagos event, Google announced an expansion of the program to accommodate  100,000 people across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

With this, Africa would move closer to achieving development of apps that meet the local need of the region.

3.    Google.org grants

Google also announced committing $20 million towards improving lives in Africa. This is through investing in start-ups with potentials to impact on their immediate communities.

Two tech startups, Gidi Mobile and Siyavula, were announced to have received $2.5 million grants towards developing digital learning material and free learning access to 400,000 students in Nigeria and South Africa.

Call for applications for the Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa for 2018 was also announced.

4.    Lagos on Google Street View

The inclusion of Lagos in Google Street View was another announcement that got people talking.

Google stated that it had added about 100,000 small businesses and commercial buildings on it Google Maps to increase the visibility of these businesses and customer engagements.

Though only available in Lagos for now, residents of Lagos can now virtually drive around the city.

5.    Launchpad Accelerator Africa

Google also launched the Africa edition of its global Launchpad Accelerator program, which is billed to be held in Lagos.

The program is aimed at supporting African entrepreneurs towards building successful technology companies and products.

According to Google, the initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African start-ups over three years.

Google Launchpad Space in Lagos is the program’s first location outside the United States of America.


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