Big tech company Google has launched a product development center in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. The product development center launched today is the company’s first ever to be launched in the continent of Africa. The company says it hopes to build transformative products and services for both the African and global markets.
In October last year, Google promised to invest $1 billion in Africa to support digital transformation across the continent. The company said the investment would be made available for five consecutive years. “We’ve made huge strides together over the past decade but there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable, and useful for every African. Today I’m excited to reaffirm our commitment to the continent through an investment of $1 billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups”, Sunday Pichai said last year.
The product development center comes months after the billion-dollar announcement and is the company’s second major research and development investment in the continent. In 2019, it set up an AI and research data center in Ghana.
Following the launch of the product and development center, Google’s Vice President for Products – Suzanne Frey mentioned the company’s plans to hire at least 100 tech talents like designers, researchers, and software engineers over the course of the next two years. The company says that, together, these talents will be working to mitigate challenges related to the smartphone experience for Africans and aiding to build more reliable internet infrastructure.
Google’s policy lead for Sub-Saharan Africa Charles Murito also mentioned that “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.”
Nairobi is becoming a hub for tech companies. Earlier this month, payments giant Visa opened an innovation hub in Nairobi. The studio will help bring together developers, the company’s internal and external clients as well as partners to come up with payment and commerce solutions that could revolutionize the payments space in Africa, the company said and according to its Senior Vice President and Head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa – Aida Diarra, “Sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with a tech-savvy population. As we continue to grow digital payments adoption in the region, our aspiration is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners in developing solutions that are designed around the unique needs of Africa.”