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Sunday 24th October, 2021

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Google To Invest $1billion To Support Digital Transformation In Africa

The investment will include the landing of the subsea cable Equiano which will enable faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs.
It also includes low-interest loans to help small businesses and equity investments in African startups.

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Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet

 

Google has announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation in an investment that focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans.

The investment will also help in building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.

The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and live-streamed on Wednesday.

The planned $1billion investment announced by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, will include: Enabling affordable internet access and building helpful products as Google is building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs.

The subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.

Investments in entrepreneurship and technology as demonstrated in Black Founders Fund, where Google will invest in Black-led startups in Africa by providing cash awards and hands-on support.

This is in addition to Google’s existing support through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped more than 80 African startups with equity-free finance, working space and access to expert advisors over the last three years.

Google also announced the launch of an Africa Investment Fund. Through this fund, the company will invest $50M in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.

Empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation: In collaboration with the non-profit organisation Kiva, Google is providing $10m in low-interest loans to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19.

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Renewed funding for nonprofits: Google.org is expanding its commitment to support nonprofits working to improve lives across Africa, with $40m to help more partners who are responding to challenges they see firsthand in their communities.

The announcement expands Google’s ongoing support for Africa’s digital transformation and entrepreneurship.

In 2017, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative with a commitment to train 10 million young Africans and small businesses in digital skills.

To date, Google has trained over 6 million people across 25 African countries, with over 60% of participants experiencing growth in their career and/or business as a result.

Google has also supported more than 50 nonprofits across Africa with over $16million of investment, and enabled hundreds of millions of Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android.

CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai said: “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 $1b over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups.”

Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa added: “I am so inspired by the innovative African tech startup scene. In the last year, we have seen more investment rounds into tech startups than ever before.

“I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and startup founders. We look forward to deepening our partnership with, and support for, Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs.”

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Hon. Minister Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Small Business Development, South Africa said: “I am happy to note that Google has been active in supporting Small to Medium Enterprises, dedicating even more resources to this sector, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last 12 months, Google has helped close to 500,000 African businesses get online and reach new customers.”

Since 2012, the Google Arts & Culture team has partnered with institutions across the continent to preserve and promote their collections, providing a free online platform which anyone around the world can access.

 

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Business

MDXi Expands Lekki Data Centre Facilities

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Barely four months after the launch of its Tier III facility at Appolonia City, Accra, Ghana, MDXi, a MainOne company, has announced the expansion of its data centre facilities in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

This expansion tagged “Lekki II” will be the latest addition to the portfolio of MDXi, which is already the leading commercial data centre provider in the region.

The new Tier III data centre is being deployed on a very aggressive timeline and with provision for growth using the latest modular data centre technology to deliver unparalleled quality of services to our customers.

Gbenga Adegbiji, Chief Operating Officer, MDXi said, ”The Lekki II Data Centre will continue to deliver the same excellent services that our customers across West Africa have come to expect from MDXi”.

He expressed optimism that global organizations interested in establishing a presence in West Africa would enjoy the similar world-class quality of services offered in advanced markets with the new MDXi Lekki II, consistent with the experience with the existing Lekki facility.”

MDXi offers a variety of colocation, cloud and interconnection services, delivered via world-class infrastructure, a highly skilled and certified support team.

Its carrier-neutral data centres with a combined capacity of 5 MW across the key markets of Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire provide access to all leading internet exchanges, network providers and ISPs in the West African region.

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Google Cloud Launches Carbon Footprint Tracker, Satellite Imagery Suite

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Alphabet Inc’s Google will tell its cloud customers the carbon emissions of their cloud usage and open satellite imagery to them for the first time for environmental analysis, as part of a push to help companies track and cut carbon budgets.

The new features were among announcements Google Cloud made Tuesday to kick off its annual customer conference, which is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic, according to a Reuters report.

The leading Western cloud vendors Google, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc have been competing on sustainability offerings for years.

They aim to serve companies that are under pressure from stakeholders to rethink operations in light of climate change.

Google’s new carbon footprint reporting tool, similar to one Microsoft already provides, shows the emissions associated with the electricity that was used to store and process a customer’s data.

In addition, Google will now warn customers when they are wasting energy on inactive cloud services.

The new mapping offering, Google Earth Engine had been used by tens of thousands of researchers, governments and advocacy groups since 2009.

But Google now is letting businesses in on the service, which includes many huge geospatial datasets such as Landsat and the software needed to analyze them. Amazon has a similar initiative.

“This is something we have now realized is applicable to a lot of these commercial opportunities,” said Jen Bennett, a technical director at Google Cloud.

Earth Engine could help ensure supply chains are sustainable and predict operation challenges from extreme weather, according to Google.

Unilever Plc, which tested the technology for the past 12 months, scrutinized its palm oil sources in Indonesia, though it could not be learned whether that led to any shifts in practices.

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Zoho Named Lead Sponsor Of #AfriTECH2021

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Organisers of Africa Tech Alliance Forum 2021 (#AfriTECH2021), has named Zoho Corporation as the lead sponsors of the event.

The hybrid event (both online and physical) will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at Oriental Hotel, Lekki Lagos by 10:00 am.

Olatomiwa Williams, Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria will be presenting the keynote address.

Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager (Africa), Zoho Corporation will lead a workshop on ‘Driving Business Growth Through CX Experience’.

Bourne will give rundowns on how participants and businesses can reimagine their CX (customer experience) journey during the post-pandemic.

The audience at #AfriTECH2021 will cut across C-Suite Executives, Founders, Presidents of Companies/Organisations, Presidents of Industry Associations, Startups/Entrepreneurs and Government officials, etc.

Peter Oluka, the editor of TechEconomy.ng, organisers of #AfriTECH2021, said in a statement, “We are happy to have Zoho partnering with us to make the event a memorable one. Having Zoho at the event is also unique because its array of products speaks to the central theme of this event.

“With 50+ apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back-office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools, Zoho Corporation is one of the world’s most prolific software companies.

“We believe that the participants will find reasons to adopt Zoho products to drive their post-pandemic digital transformation drives”. Oluka said.

“In a short period of time, COVID-19 has overwhelmed lives and livelihoods around the globe. For vulnerable individuals and the customer teams that serve them, it has also forced a rethinking of what customer care means.

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“Suddenly, examinations of customer journeys and satisfaction metrics to inform what customers want has given way to an acute urgency to address what they need.

“Andrew, in this session, will share how care, creative thinking, and new tools can address customers’ acute needs today and forge stronger ties in the post-COVID-19 era”, he added.

More than 60 million users around the world, across hundreds of thousands of companies, rely on Zoho every day to run their businesses, including Zoho itself.

Participation at the Forum is FREE, but participants are expected to pre-register via the link: https://africatechallianceforum.africa/ to have the opportunity to witness the keynote address, goodwill messages, product launches, brand promotion, panel sessions and the inaugural AfriTECH Awards/recognition.

The Forum has received supports from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Galaxy Backbone Limited, as partners, and is being sponsored by Rack Centre, Digital Encode, Cloudflex Computing Services Limited, Zinochrome International, Layer3, Notion Technology Limited (representatives of American #1 Technology company – Comway – and Hsv Products).

#AfriTECH2021 also enjoys robust media coverage by TechNext.ng, ITPulse.com.ng; ITNewsNigeria.ng; NigeriaCommunicationsWeek.com.ng; TechTv.net.ng; Rave TV; GrassRoots.ng; ITRealms.com.ng and Digivation Network, BusinessMetricsng.com, BusinessRemarks and TechNewsandBiz.

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