Good news for local tech jobs after Google revealed it is opening a product development centre in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

This is Google’s second major research and development investment in Africa, after it set up an AI and research centre in Ghana in 2019.

Both of those facilities are part of Google’s five year $1 billion investment plan for the continent announced by CEO Sundar Pichai last October, to help local economies accelerate their digital transformation.

Nairobi centre

Indeed, that $1 billion investment from Google in Africa will focus on projects that will provide fast, reliable, affordable internet across the continent; build helpful, local products; and support the entrepreneurs and small businesses that underpin Africa’s economies.

As part of this, Google this week revealed the creation of its first ever Africa product development centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, in joint blog post on Tuesday by Suzanne Frey, VP for products, and Nitin Gajria, head of Google Africa.

In the post, both executives revealed that Google will create over 100 positions that will include software engineers, researchers and designers over the next two years, in order to help solve difficult and technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa, or building a more reliable internet infrastructure.

“Supporting Africa’s digital transformation will take teamwork – by 2030, Africa will have 800 million internet users and one-third of the world’s under-35 population,” wrote both executives.

African investments

Stats like this makes Africa an attractive investment destination.

It should remembered that at one stage the continent even tempted Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey to publicly state he would move to Africa for three to six months in 2020.

Microsoft meanwhile is another tech giant that has also decided to invest in Africa, three decades after opening its first corporate offices in the continent.

In 2019 Redmond announced it was investing $100m for its first Africa Development Centre (ADC) and was hiring hundreds of engineers.

That ADC saw the creation of two initial sites in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, where the ADC will serve as a centre of engineering for Microsoft, where African talent can create solutions for both local and global audiences.

Prior to that in 2017 Microsoft brought its Azure cloud services directly to the African market, with two data centres in South Africa (located in Johannesburg and Cape Town).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2020 announced the opening of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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