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The Kenya Forum | Google Opens Product Development Center in Kenya - The Kenya Forum

April 20, 2022

Summary

Last year, Google announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to help Africa’s digital transformation.

More by Winnie Kabintie

Google Opens Product Development Center in Kenya

Google Opens Product Development Center in Kenya

Google Opens Product Development Center in Kenya

 Google has announced the launch of a product development center in Nairobi, the tech giant’s first in Africa.

The hub, which is a first in the continent, seeks to build “transformative” products and services for the African market and the world.

Announcing the development at a virtual media round table on Tuesday, Google VP for product Suzanne Frey also said that the company will hire over 100 young tech talents in Kenya, including software engineers, researchers, and designers, to build more reliable internet infrastructure and improve smartphone experience for Africans.

Last year, Google announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to help Africa’s digital transformation.

Google setting up a product development hub in Kenya is consolidating Nairobi’s position as the Silicon Savannah.

Visa Opens Innovation Hub in Kenya

Early this month, Global digital payments firm Visa opened an innovation studio in Kenya, also a first in Africa, with a goal to accelerate technological innovation in certain subregions in sub-Saharan Africa.

The studio will bring together developers, Visa’s internal and external clients, and other partners to co-create payment and commerce solutions.

Nairobi’s Visa innovation studio becomes the globally for the company, which has had other similar hubs only in Singapore, San Francisco, London, Miami and Dubai.

Senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aida Diarra, said the studio will assist in increasing Visa market in the region by issuing digital and physical Visa to its clients.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with a tech-savvy population and as we continue to grow digital payments adoption in the region, our aspiration is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners in developing solutions that are designed around the unique needs of Africa,” said Diarra.

Last year, Visa partnered with Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom to allow the firm’s 150,000 mobile money (M-Pesa) merchants to accept card payments.

Microsoft Opens $27 Million Tech Hub In Kenya

In March this year, American tech firm Microsoft opened a new $27 million office and labs for its premier engineering hub, the African Development Centre (ADC), after three years of operation in Kenya.

The center. Which was officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta, sits in Westland’s Dunhill towers.

“As a premier center of research and development for Microsoft, we all remain confident that you – together with our young men and women – will build a local world-class talent and create innovative technological solutions that will yield global positive impacts,” said President Kenyatta said.

Fast-Growing Tech Start-Ups

Kenya has consolidated its position at the helm of Africa’s emerging tech landscape. Besides the multinationals, the country is also home to some of the most promising and fast-growing tech start-ups.

Last year, nine Kenyan startups were shortlisted by Google to receive equity-free funding as part of its Africa Investment Fund. Together with 41 other African startups, the startups were set to receive up to $100,000 in equity-free funding, access to its employees, network, and technologies including Google Ad Grants and Cloud credits.

The nine Kenyan startups included; Angaza Elimu, AquaRech,Raise, Finplus, WorkPay, Pezesha, MarketForceTesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce  Imali Pay,  Imali Pay.

Wapi Pay Raises Capital via Future Hub

In February 2020, Kenyan Fintech startup Wapi Pay made headlines after it raised seed capital via Future Hub, becoming the first Fintech investment in Africa to do so.

 

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