American multinational technology company, Google, in what appears like a snubbing of Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has announced the establishment of its first Africa product development centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
The centre which is expected to help create transformative products and services for people in Africa and around the world is coming barely 4 weeks after Microsoft opened new African Development Centre at Ikoyi, Lagos.
This was made known by Google’s Vice President of the product, Ms Susan Frey, at a Virtual Media Round Table, where she said that Google would also be hiring for the development centre.
According to NAN, Frey said there would be hiring visionary engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers to lay the foundation for significant growth in the coming years.
Frey also said that the centre was looking for talented, creative people who would help solve difficult and important technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa.
She said that talented people would also be building a more reliable internet infrastructure.
Frey recalled that in October 2021, at a `Google for Africa’ event, the Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, announced plans to invest $1billion over the next 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation.
She pointed out that the investment is expected to focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping non-profits to improve lives across Africa.
Frey said, “In 2018, Google also opened an AI Research Centre in Accra, Ghana to help drive useful innovations. The new product development centre is a continuation of that commitment and will be working on building for Africa and the world.
“Google’s mission in Africa is to make the Internet helpful to Africans and partner with African governments, policy makers, educators, entrepreneurs and businesses to shape the next wave of innovation in Africa.
‘’Today I am excited to welcome all Africans passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products to apply for the open roles at our first product development centre in Africa.’’
The Managing Director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, revealed that there were 300 million internet users in Africa who were young, mobile-first and had similar patterns to mobile youth globally.
Gajria said that by 2030, Africa would have 800 million internet users and a third of the world’s under-35 population, adding that the potential for Africa to become a leading digital economy was right on the horizon and Google was committed to accelerating Africa’s digital transformation through human capital.