Multinational technology company, Google has disclosed it will start the disbursement of the $1B investment commitment in Africa by building a new Google Cloud region in South Africa that will help users, developers, businesses and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online, improve access options for customers and in turn, create jobs.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai made the $1bn investment commitment last year.
The Director of Google Cloud Africa, Niral Patel, who disclosed this yesterday at the second Google for Africa event in Lagos, noted that research by AlphaBeta Economics commissioned by Google Cloud, revealed that the South Africa cloud region will contribute more than a cumulative USD 2.1 billion to the country’s GDP, and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.
“We believe in growing an open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals, which leads to more opportunities for businesses. It is part of our company-wide ethos to respect the environment, which is why we operate the cleanest cloud in the industry, supporting sustainable digital transformation,” he said.
He added that along with the cloud region, Google is expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi, emphasizing that in doing so, Google is building full-scale Cloud capability for Africa.
According to Niral Patel, Google Cloud is already working with customers across the continent – helping them solve business-critical challenges, get online, and access the benefits of digital technology.
For instance, in South Africa, Google Cloud works with leading retailer TakeAlot to help their three million local customers enjoy a hassle-free online shopping experience. TakeAlot built its e-commerce platform on Google Cloud, which has enabled the business to avoid system crashes during high-traffic periods like Black Friday. While in Kenya, Google Cloud works with Twiga Foods – a technology-driven company addressing and improving food security in Africa – helps them connect 1,000 farmers to 140,000 vendors, delivering 12,000 orders every day and storing two million kilograms of fresh produce.
Also announced at the Google for Africa event, is the launch of voice typing support for nine more African languages in Gboard, the Google keyboard (isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Kinyarwanda, Northern Sotho, Swati, Sesotho, Tswana, Tshivenda and Xitsonga) – while 24 new languages are now supported on Google Translate, including Lingala, which is used by more than 45 million people across Central Africa.
To make Maps more useful, Google also refreshed Street View in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal and Nigeria with nearly three hundred thousand kilometres of imagery. This helps people virtually explore and navigate neighborhoods on Google Maps. They are also extending the service to Rwanda, meaning that Street View is now available in 11 African countries.