Tech giant Google LLC has reportedly announced the opening of its first product development center in the African continent in the city of Nairobi in Kenya to develop ‘transformative’ services and products for the local as well as overseas markets.
The news come after the search engine giant revealed plans of investing $1 billion over the course of five years in October 2021. The center will be Google’s second key research and development investment in the continent after it had set up an AI and research center in Ghana three years ago.
Suzanne Frey, VP for products at Google, said that the firm will be hiring more than 100 tech talents, which include researchers, software engineers, and designers in the coming two years in order to help solve technical and difficult challenges. These include building a more reliable internet infrastructure and improving the smartphone experience for African people.
Google adds to the growing list of tech majors establishing their innovations hubs in Nairobi.
Charles Murito, policy lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, Google, stated during the briefing that Africa is at the forefront of innovation and the firm believes it will continue developing and innovating from the continent.
The American firm also plans on continuing to build partnerships, products, and services, in order to make more people connect to the internet and also support non-profit organizations as well as small and medium-sized businesses.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director, Google in Africa, said that the firm currently has 300 million people connected online in the continent, and believes that through this decade another half a billion people would experience internet for the first time. Therefore it is important for Google to build products and experiences that help these people in the region experience the internet.
A few weeks ago, Visa announced the setting up of its first innovation center in the city for co-creating commerce and payment solutions with partners, following Microsoft’s launch of a research and development center in Nairobi.