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Google sets up $50 million fund to invest in African startups

Photo Credit: lex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket / Getty Images

Last week, Google released plans to commit $1 billion to support the digital transformation across the continent of Africa through tech-led initiatives aimed at making internet and start up funding more accessible.

Plans include a $50 million fund, Africa Investment Fund, to invest in early and growth stage African startups which will include providing startups with access to Google employees, its network and its technologies. Funding does come as a cost, with Google taking equity in the participating startups. Google is particularly interested in supporting startups that are focused on fin-tech, e-commerce and local language content.

Applications are being accepted from startups in both larger funding hubs like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt as well as startups in less-funded regions like Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Google's managing director in Africa, Nitin Gajria, shared that Google is interested in a number of verticals that will allow it to help founders who are building products solving real challenges in Africa.

This isn't Google's first foray into impacting digital advancement across Africa. Here's a look at some of the initiatives Google has in the works:

A three-month virtual accelerator program for high potential Seed to Series A tech startups based in Africa.

A Google for Startups program giving access to funding to Black-founded startups in Africa.

Named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, the Equiano cable is boasts approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region and will from Portugal to South Africa.

It's clear Google wants a stake in the digital markets across Africa and it is investing heavily to make sure it is on the front lines of action.

More to follow.



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