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10 Global Tech Companies Investing in Africa

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

The African continent has steadily been growing in investment potential. Global tech companies have realized this potential and begun investing in Africa.

Here are 10 global tech companies investing in Africa across various industries:

Uber: It’s a transport service app that allows users to order a car to transport them to a desired destination. Uber is available internationally as well as in various African countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. It also provides great work opportunities, as people can register to become independent contractor Uber drivers. The app has recently begun investing in Africa, primarily in Egypt. The taxi-hailing startup has launched a support center in Cairo, with $20 million set to be spent on the project over the next five years, creating employment for 700 Egyptians as a result.

Microsoft: Microsoft was actually one of the first international companies to begin investing in Africa. Their 4Afrika initiative was created to train African youth. Now, the company has announced plans to open two new cloud data centers in South Africa to provide Microsoft Cloud services for the African market from centers based on the continent. Furthermore, Microsoft currently works with education ministries in numerous African countries – including Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, and Kenya, to name a few – by providing technology to assist in teaching and learning processes.

Opera: Norwegian web browser developer Opera software enables more than 350 million internet consumers to discover and connect with content and services. The developer has recently announced plans to invest $100 million in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years, as the company aims to consolidate its most robust market. The investment is being used to develop artificial intelligence that delivers customized and localized content to Africans, while continued efforts will be made to reduce data costs by around 90 percent.

Google: A collaboration between Google and three other companies will create CSquared, an ICT infrastructure investment initiative. Google, pan-African ICT–focused private equity firm Convergence Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Japan’s second-largest trading house, Mitsui & Co, have committed to investing a combined $100 million in this broadband infrastructure project to benefit African cities, with fast and reliable internet capabilities in the pipeline. The initiative is an extension of Project Link, a program Google first launched in Uganda four years ago to provide local internet service providers (ISPs) with access to a more efficient infrastructure.

Marian Croak, Google’s vice president for access strategy and emerging markets, says, “Together with our new partners, we believe CSquared can roll out and operate affordable, high-speed, and reliable infrastructure to further expand internet access in Africa.”

Facebook: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to investing in Africa. Along with investments in numerous tests regarding internet delivery via solar-powered drones, Facebook aims to complete the laying of 500 miles of fiber cable in Uganda by the end of the year, infrastructure that Facebook believes will provide internet access for more than three million people. The company is partnering with Airtel and BCS to provide the actual internet service and says the fiber will offer more support for “mobile operators’ base stations.” The company also says that it’s “open” to working with other network providers down the line.

Airbnb: Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. The service has proved to be quite popular. Hosts in Africa have welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent in the past year, while earning a combined $139 million in host income, representing growth of 110 percent over the past year.

The app creators have made a commitment to invest $1 million in community-led tourism projects across the African continent over the next few years. The investment from the mobile app-based hospitality booking site will be used to enable a number of initiatives, including an expanded host-training program within South African townships, enabling hosts to use Airbnb technology and training them in hospitality.

Orange Telecom: Orange Telecom is a network operator and creator of digital experiences in 29 countries and for 263 million customers. The company has recently announced their latest startup investment initiative, which will aim to invest in innovative African startups across the continent. $56 million has been set for investment, in which half will indirectly go towards the digital sector, and the rest for a new initiative, called Orange Digital Ventures Africa.

IBM: International Business Machines Corporation, IBM is an American technology company that manufactures and markets computer hardware, middleware, and software and offers hosting and consulting services. The company launched iHub in Nairobi, an Innovation hub, and hacker space for the technology community in Nairobi. They have further committed to investing $61 million over the next 10 years in a new laboratory at WITS University’s Tshimogolong Precinct tech hub in Johannesburg.

Greenwish Partners: The Australian renewable energy firm offers clean-energy technologies. The company has just announced plans to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecom towers to be built throughout Africa in partnership with telecoms provider Orange. This initiative will begin with 250 towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the course of this year, with future objectives set at 3,000 towers across numerous countries by 2018 and 10,000 by 2020.

Cisco: Cisco is an American multinational technology conglomerate that develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. The company is investing in Africa through its recently launched Challenge Up! initiative in collaboration with Intel and Deutsche Telekom. The initiative is an internet of things accelerator for startups. Cisco Capital has also launched a low-rate financing program in South Africa that will assist small businesses in investing in next-generation technologies.

Source: CA Global

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