Google commits US$10m to support Kenya’s economic recovery
Google has committed US$10 million to support tech start-ups and small business development in Kenya and assist in the East African country’s economic recovery.
This follows an online meeting between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, where the growth of start-ups and small businesses was identified as a positive aspect of Kenya’s recovery plans.
According to the announcement by Google, the company will set aside US$2-million to support local non-profits via the Google.org arm as well as support small businesses and entrepreneurs with loans of up to US$3-million.
Kenyan tech start-ups will receive a majority share of US$5-million also set aside.
Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Kenya & Eastern Africa, Google, said: “Twenty Kenyan technology-enabled companies have graduated from our Google for Startups Accelerator programs, where entrepreneurs receive access to Google’s mentors, products and best practices. We will continue to support Kenyan businesses, entrepreneurs, developers, education professionals, and other communities on the long road ahead towards economic recovery.”
President Kenyatta said that the development of Kenya’s digital economy has enabled almost 95% of the population to access financial services, compared to just 30% less than twenty years ago.
“This has been an incredible boost to growth in our country,” he added.
Google’s Pichai said: “It’s an opportunity for bold action and it is important to make sure that the growth is sustainable and inclusive,” adding that the country would benefit from increased investment in physical infrastructure.
He raised the company’s plan to build a high capacity fibre network linking Portugal to South Africa along Africa’s West Coast and thereby secure more broadband for the continent.
According to Google’s Digital Sprinters report, Kenya could reach a potential annual (year-on-year) economic impact of up to US$74-billion in 2030 through supportive policies that enable full utilisation of digital technologies.