Google pledges $10 million to support Kenya’s economic recovery

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, 27 January 2021 attends an event hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa
H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, 27 January 2021 attends an event hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa

Google has committed $10 million (1.1 billion Kenyan shillings) to support economic recovery in Kenya, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet said. 

Pichai made the announcement on Wednesday, during a virtual meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, aimed at seeking ways the tech giant could assist Kenyan businesses and communities bounce back from the challenges placed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In September 2020, Google announced support for African businesses, job seekers and educational institutions in navigating the pandemic.

Since then, the company says it has worked with over 300,000 Small and Medium Enterprises to digitize their businesses and provide them an online presence by building for the Google Business Profiles and business sites. 

“To continue to support the economic recovery in Kenya, we are committing an additional $10M  to go towards loans for small businesses, support for tech startups, and grants for underserved communities. More to come on how we’ll help more people and businesses in Kenya and across Africa,” Pichai said during the meeting. 

The meeting comes barely a week after Alphabet Inc announced shutting down its internet balloon business, Loon, which aimed to provide a less expensive alternative to cell towers. In Kenya the firm had partnered with Telkom Kenya to deliver 4G network access across the country.

In the partnership unveiled on Thursday, Google said that it has also provided a platform that allows business owners to access global markets for their products using their ‘market finder’.

Google Kenya & East Africa country director Agnes Gathaiya said the company has been helping Kenyans in formal and informal jobs who have been impacted by the pandemic and are looking for new opportunities through ‘Grow with Google’.

“According to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 35 percent with approximately 800,000 young Kenyans joining the labour market every year. We believe that by integrating digital education in Technical and Vocational Education & Training, we can give the youth the right skillset to help drive this transformation,” she said.