Announced at a company conference last week in Lagos, Nigeria, initial grants totaling $2.5 million were awarded to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula, which will use the funds to provide free access to digital learning for four hundred thousand low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. In 2018, Google.org will launch a Google.org Impact Challenge with the aim of awarding $5 million in grants to African nonprofits.
Google also announced new initiatives focused on preparing ten million young Africans over the next five years for twenty-first-century jobs, expanding education and economic opportunity on the continent, and supporting startups. The effort will expand on an initiative launched last year to train a million young people in digital skills — a goal that was met in March. Google also plans to provide mobile app developer training to a hundred thousand Africans, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
In addition, through a program based on its global Launchpad Accelerator platform, Google will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space, and access to expert advisers to more than sixty African startups over the next three years.
"The Internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses, and boosting economies," Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google's country manager for Nigeria, wrote in a blog post. "But people need the right skills, tools, and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses, and their communities."