During the pandemic in 2020, nearly 20 million more Africans subscribed to a mobile service than in the previous year, according to industry trade group Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), with 4G connections set to double over the next four years.
Tech giants such as Google — which expects hundreds of millions more people to come online across the continent for the first time in the next few years — are moving quickly in the race for Africa’s digital inclusion.
Last year, Google’s joint report with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation forecasted Africa’s “e-conomy” value would reach $180 billion by 2025.This has arguably fueled the company’s commitment of a $1 billion investment in Africa, announced last month — focusing on grants for businesses, supporting entrepreneurship and a significant infrastructure plan to broaden internet access across the continent.
After the announcement, CNN’s Larry Madowo spoke to Nitin Gajria, Google’s managing director for sub-Saharan Africa, about the company’s plan to improve internet connectivity in Africa and support the continent’s digital transformation.
The following interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
Larry Madowo: Google has made a big deal of investing in the digital landscape in Africa. What regions or specific sectors are you most excited about investing in?
Nitin Gajria: We were thrilled to have announced our $1 billion commitment over the next five years on the continent. These are really…