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Google picks Nairobi for product development center

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Google is launching its first product development center in Africa – in Kenyan capital Nairobi – and is looking to hire locally.

The search giant said the new product development center will help to create "transformative products and services" for people in Africa and around the world and will be hiring engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers "to lay the foundation for significant growth in the coming years".

"There are 300 million Internet users in Africa who are young, mobile first and have similar patterns to mobile youth globally," Nitin Gajria, MD for Google in Africa, said in a statement.

Google sees Africa as a huge growth market because by 2030 the continent will have 800 million Internet users and one-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," Gajria added.

In October 2021, Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to support the continent's digital transformation.

That investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable Internet access for more Africans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.

Local talent

In 2018, Google also opened an AI research center in Accra, Ghana to help drive useful innovations, and the Nairobi product development center is seen as a continuation of that investment.

"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," said Google's VP for Products, Suzanne Frey.

She said all Africans who are passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products should apply for the open roles at the new product development center.

New hires will be tasked with solving difficult and important technical challenges such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa or building a more reliable Internet infrastructure.

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*Top image source: Business photo created by DCStudio - www.freepik.com .

The Staff, Connecting Africa

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