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Google will invest $1 billion in Africa in the next five years

The money will go to improving internet and backing startups, CEO Sundar Pichai says.

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Google is investing in Africa's tech innovation.

Stephen Shankland/CNET`

Google is investing $1 billion in Africa in the next five years, it said Wednesday. It's aiming to improve the continent's internet connectivity and support startups.

During its first Google for Africa event, the search giant launched an Africa Investment Fund designed to help out startups by giving them access to its employees and tech, as previously reported by Reuters. 

It's also partnering with nonprofit Kiva to offer $10 million in low interest loans to help small businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa endure the pandemic.

"Increasingly we are seeing innovation begin in Africa, and then spread throughout the world. For example, people in Africa were among the first to access the internet through a phone rather than a computer. And mobile money was ubiquitous in Kenya before it was adopted by the world," SEO Sundar Pichai said during the virtual event. "This momentum will only increase as 300 million people come online in Africa over the next five years."