Google has announced that it has officially opened its first product development centre in Afrika. The centre will to be located in Nairobi and it will aim to help create products and services for people in Afrika and around the world.

Already, as part of the announcement, the center is advertising that it is looking at hiring software engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers.

“There are 300M internet users in Africa who are young, mobile first and have similar patterns to mobile youth globally. By 2030, Africa will have 800M internet users and a third of the world’s under-35 population. The potential for Africa to become a leading digital economy is right on the horizon and Google is committed to accelerating Africa’s digital transformation through human capital and enabling “African-led solutions to African and global problems” through better products," said Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Afrika.

Afrikan software developers in demand

Earlier in 2022 Google in Africa release a report that revealed that here is a rise in demand for developers being experienced across Afrika. Titled "Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021," the report observed that demand for Afrikan developers reached a record high in 2021 against the backdrop of a global economic crisis and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to in an interview, Google in Africa's Gajria highlighted several factors contributing to the high demand for Afrikan developers. Among them being the he growth of Afrikan startups.

"[Afrikan startups] raised more than $4 billion in 2021 (growing by over 2.5x in 2021), was a key factor in driving the growth of full-time employment of Afrikan developers -  Afrikan startups and SMBs are responsible for hiring more than half of the developers on the continent."

Gajria also mentioned that Google is invested in the growth of Afrika’s internet economy. Specifically that the company aims to train 100,000 developers across Afrika in 5 years through Google Developers Training.

The Product Development Centre in Nairobi appears to be part of that five year plan.

Supporting Afrika's digital transformation

This new product development centre is also continuation of Sundar Pichai's (Google CEO) commitment supporting Afrika's digital transformation for the next five years.

The centre is looking for talented, creative people who can help solve difficult and important technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa, or building a more reliable internet infrastructure. The investment that Pichai spoke of focused on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Afrikans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Afrika.

In 2018 Google also opened an AI research centre in Accra, Ghana.

“Google’s mission in Africa is to make the Internet helpful  to Africans and partner with African governments, policymakers, educators, entrepreneurs and business to shape the next wave of innovation in Africa. Today I am excited to welcome all Africans passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products to apply for the open roles at our first product development centre in Africa," said Suzanne Frey, VP for Products at Google.

— By Tefo Mohapi

Share this via