Google has announced the launch of a product development center in Nairobi, its first on the continent, to build “transformative” products and services for the African market and the world.
This comes after the tech giant revealed plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in October last year, as it positions itself to serve a growing base of internet users on the continent.
The center is Google’s second major research and development investment in Africa after the tech giant set up an AI and research center in Ghana in 2019.
Google has joined the growing list of tech giants setting up innovation hubs in Nairobi. Shortly after Microsoft launched a research and development center in Nairobi, Visa announced that it had set up its first innovation center to co-create payment and commerce solutions with partners.
By the end of this decade, the continent will host 800 million internet users, the California-based firm said, and a third of the world’s youth population, making it an attractive investment destination.
Google is hiring engineers, product managers, user experience designers, and researchers to staff the new center, said Suzanne Frey, vice president for products, and Nitin Gajria, the head of Google Africa, in a joint blog post on Tuesday.
Google said it plans to continue building partnerships, products, and services to get more people connected to the internet and to support small and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations.
“We have 300 million people on the internet in the region [Africa] today. We also know that in the course of the rest of this decade, we’re going to have another half a billion people who will experience the internet for the very first time, which is why it is incredibly important that we build products and experiences that are helpful to these people who are going to be experiencing the internet for the very first time, just in Africa, “said Google in Africa managing director, Nitin Gajria.
“Africa has been at the forefront of innovation, and we believe that we are going to continue to develop and innovate right here on the continent,” said Google’s policy lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, Charles Murito.