American tech giant Google has pledged to invest $10 million in Kenya – about Ksh 1.1 bn – to support economic recovery.
Kenya’s economy was hard hit by the pandemic when the country went into lockdown restricting activity. Recent figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) have shown the country slumped into a recession between July and September 2020 – the first time in two decades.
From the $10 million, half will be invested into local startups, 3 million to help small businesses and 2 million to charity.
In addition to the cash investment, Google will also expand its Startups Accelerator program to support 100,000 businesses and 15,000 developers. The company also pledged to train 29,000 students and 1,800 teachers on e-learning using Google Classroom.
The announcement was made last week during President Uhuru’s virtual meeting with Sundar Pichai, Google, and Alphabet’s CEO. It was attended by ICT CS Joseph Mucheru, an ex-Google employee, and other state officials.
The meeting’s fundamental purpose was on digital transformation in Africa organized by Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), a US-based trade alliance that unites the US and African economies.
Speaking of digital transformation, Kenyatta said his government is “aggressively expanding internet connectivity” in the country and funding skills development to enable young Kenyans to benefit from employment opportunities created by the digital revolution.
The ongoing rollout of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) in schools is also giving precedence to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects as the country seeks to shift its reliance on agriculture to technology.
President Uhuru Kenyatta talked of his commitment to support SMEs and to provide more opportunities to local businesses through ongoing Free Trade Agreement(FTA) negotiations.
“True growth in Kenya is going to be led by SMEs, and we need to be able to tool them. One area I would like us to work a lot more together is in the area of supporting our SMEs,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said.