Google announced on Wednesday that it had set aside $1 billion for its first-ever “digital empowerment program” in Africa, aimed at harnessing technology to create “more sustainable, prosperous, and equitable digital ecosystems across the continent.”
The program will primarily target rural Africa, which is very much the focus of Google’s fund, with a particular focus on digital literacy programs aimed at girls, women, and youth. Last year, more than 10,000 women were trained on online skills in Kenya in a similar effort, according to the company. Today’s announcement is a positive sign for growth on the continent. The International Telecommunications Union estimated earlier this year that over 600 million people in Africa did not have access to a phone in 2017, while the World Bank predicts that there will be an almost tenfold increase in mobile data traffic over the next five years.
Google will also develop a series of emerging technology incubators, known as Garage, through which local startups, supported by Google, will be supported for one to five years. Today’s announcement came on the same day that the African Union launched a continent-wide IoT network.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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