Google is opening a product development centre in Africa. The investment comes from Alphabet Inc’s Google who are investing in the new product development centre that will be located in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. This is Google’s first product development centre in Africa.
Google is positioning itself to help support and expand internet usage in Africa. The continent already has a growing base of internet users, and with better access the number is expected to grow. According to Google, It is likely that Africa will have 800 million internet users by the end of the decade. Since there is a large youth population in Africa, choosing to open its development centre in Kenya is an excellent choice.
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet Inc’s Google boss explained that although there have been big steps forward in recent years, there is so much more that still needs to be done. Developments need to continue until we reach a point that makes “internet accessible, affordable, and useful for every African.”
Google Investment in Africa to Increase Jobs
In a joint blog post by the Head of Google Africa, Nitin Gajria, and the Vice President for Products, Suzanne Frey, Google is looking to hire a number of staff members for this new venture. The company is looking for product managers, software engineers, researchers, and user experience designers. Initial plans include hiring 100 people to fill tech positions. In addition to this, any large company that opens its doors provides jobs both for those with technical and academic skills along with others such as maintenance staff.
After Google establishes itself in Nairobi, it is likely that the investment will have a ripple effect that will increase other business and will bring new investors. Initially announcing an investment of US$1billion within the next five years, Google will pave the way for faster and most importantly, affordable internet access. This, in turn, will help support a multitude of businesses specializing in different areas. One such vertical being the thriving online gambling industry, where top ranking brands Like Zebra online casinos will be able to legally operate and attain licensing.
Google plans to design and build products and offer services that benefit the African market and other locations around the world. Some of the technical challenges in Africa that have been difficult to solve so far are building and maintaining a reliable internet infrastructure and making the smartphone experience a better one for users in Africa.
Google Comments on Nairobi Product Development Centre
Charles Murito, Google’s Policy Lead for Sub-Sharan Africa, noted: “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.”
Nitin Garria, the Managing Director for Google in Africa explained that the company is committed to African-led solutions to the various technical problems experienced in Africa. While this kind of problem solving and development will benefit Africa, innovative products suited to the market will benefit both Africa and help solve various global problems too.
Google noted in a statement that “We’re looking for talented, creative, and collaborative people who can help solve difficult and important technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa or building products that will help everyone to thrive together.”
Suzanne Frey, the VP for Products further explained Google’s mission with the current expansion into Africa. She noted: “Google’s mission in Africa is to make the internet helpful to Africans and partner with African governments, policymakers, educators, entrepreneurs, and businesses to shape the next wave of innovation in Africa.”
Frey took the opportunity to invite those who are interested in making a difference to apply for jobs. She said: “I am excited to welcome all Africans passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products to apply for the open roles.”
Tech Moves into Africa
While an investment of this magnitude is new to Nairobi, it is not the first time that Google invested in an African country. In Accra, Ghana, Google opened an artificial intelligence centre in 2019. The AI canter mainly focuses on innovating products that help to deal with various challenges.
Google is not the only tech company to expand into Nairobi. Recently Microsoft opened a research and development centre, and Visa has now announced that it also plans to set up shop in Nairobi. Visa has set up an innovation centre to focus on payment and commerce solutions. Visa is working with various partners.
Microsoft has made sizeable but somewhat smaller investments in both Kenya and Nigeria. The company focused on technology development and has already hired hundreds of engineers for these projects.