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AfDB, Google partner to advance digital transformation in Africa

by Peter Friday
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The bank said both parties signed a Letter of Intent during the Global Africa Business Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

It stated that the agreement underscored shared commitment to harness emerging technologies, extend and improve infrastructure and refine talent and skills on the continent and to foster digital evolution.

According to AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, the bank invested 1.9 billion dollars in projects over the past decade toward the development of broadband infrastructure, conducive policy and regulatory environment, digital skills and innovative technology start-ups.

He said “our journey from a two per cent telephony penetration in 1998 to today’s era of 4G, 5G and AI signifies immense progress.

“With 70% of sub-Saharan Africans under 30 years, our focus is on catalysing businesses to create jobs and offer innovative solutions.”

According to the AfDB boss, Google has been a long-time partner in Africa’s economic growth and digital transformation.

He said that in 2005, Google invested in a major submarine telecommunications cable – the Seacom cable, “and since then, Google has been committed to digital transformation by supporting talent development, innovation, infrastructure and regulatory advancements across the continent.

“Working with AfDB, Google will offer technical assistance to bolster entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in digitising their businesses, secure finance, master digital marketing and advance private sector development.”


Dr James Manyika, Google’s Senior Vice President of Research, Technology and Society, also said that with advanced technologies like AI, the most profound transformation was yet to come.

He said collaboration was essential for Africa to realise this opportunity, building for everyone and ensuring no-one is left behind.

“We are excited to collaborate with the African Development Bank to work toward this shared commitment,” Manyika added.

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