The establishment of Silicon-Valley tech giant Google's first product development center in Africa is reportedly set to create many opportunities for the continent’s tech sector, according to Charles Murito, Director, Sub Saharan Africa, Government Affairs & Public Policy at Google.
The California-based firm wants to tap into the growing online population of Africa, which expected to reach 800 million by 2030.
The center will be established in Nairobi, Kenya, and is scheduled to start operations next year and will be hiring over 100 employees.
Murito stated that the product development center will work to innovate transformative products and services aimed at people across Africa, and also developing a product for the remainder of the world.
The announcement was a kick-off of the recruitment process, where the company would be hiring for the roles such as engineers, researchers, UX designers, and product managers, amongst others.
Google said that its mission is to make all information in the world universally accessible and also create a product that works well for the people of Africa.
Bitange Ndemo, former Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, Kenya stated that the investment will help in reducing the unemployment problem in the country, adding that the Kenyan government must begin investing in skilling and reskilling the country’s youth to meet the demand and benefit from the Google center.
Ndemo added that the demand for such skills already exceeds the local supply.
Over the past few years, Google has trained more than 80,000 certified African developers and is investing $1 billion over the next five years in projects aimed at helping with the development of Africa’s internet economy.
According to Murito, this investment will transform the continent. Adding that the opportunity to create products is what works best for Africans, whether they are on financial inclusion or other sectors of the continent’s economy.
He added that by having a domestic product development center in Africa, the people will be able to witness challenges firsthand and create services and products that will service and solve those challenges.
Another tech giant Microsoft has also recently invested in Kenya, having hired hundreds of engineers in the country.