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Google to train 10 million people in Africa
August 7, 2017, 5:27 pm
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Google’s parent company Alphabet has said that over the next five years it aims to train 10 million people in Africa so as to enable them to gain online skills that will make them more employable in local markets.

The pledge, made last week by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, is an expansion of the initiative launched by the company in 2016 to train young Africans in digital skills. The US technology giant announced in March of this year that it had reached its initial target of training one million people.

The company is “committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years,” said Mr. Pichai during a company conference last week in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

Google said it will offer a combination of in-person and online training in different languages including Swahili, Hausa and Zulu and try to ensure that at least 40 percent of people trained are women. The company also added that it initially hopes to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Africa, with its rapid population growth, falling data costs and heavy adoption of mobile phones, having largely leapfrogged personal computer use, is tempting for tech companies. Executives such as Chinese Alibaba Group Holding’s chairman Jack Ma have also recently toured parts of the continent.

However, with the wide wealth chasm in many African countries, most people use basic phones with limited features. Combine this with the poor communications infrastructure on the continent that limits web speeds and it becomes clear that internet surfing on which tech firms rely on to make money is still a long way off.

At the same press conference Google also announced plans to provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship and working space access to more than 60 African start-ups over three years. In addition, YouTube will roll out a new app, YouTube Go, aimed at improving video streaming over slow networks, said Johanna Wright, vice president of YouTube. YouTube Go is being tested in Nigeria as of June, and the trial version of the app will be offered globally later this year, she said.

 

 

 

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