has announced a five-year, $20 million commitment through its philanthropic arm, , in support of nonprofits working to improve the lives of young people in Africa.
Announced at a company conference last week in Lagos, Nigeria, initial grants totaling $2.5 million were awarded to the nonprofit arms of African startups and , which will use the funds to provide free access to digital learning for four hundred thousand low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. In 2018, Google.org will launch a with the aim of awarding $5 million in grants to African nonprofits.
Google also announced new initiatives focused on preparing ten million young Africans over the next five years for twenty-first-century jobs, expanding education and economic opportunity on the continent, and supporting startups. The effort will expand on an initiative launched last year to train a million young people in digital skills — a goal that was met in March. Google also plans to provide mobile app developer training to a hundred thousand Africans, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
In addition, through a program based on its global Launchpad Accelerator platform, Google will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space, and access to expert advisers to more than sixty African startups over the next three years.
"The Internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses, and boosting economies," Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google's country manager for Nigeria, wrote in a . "But people need the right skills, tools, and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses, and their communities."