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COVID-19: Google Unveils Plans to Support SMEs, Jobseekers, Others to Restart African Economy

Google has announced plans to help restart and rebuild the African economy as it gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is expected to help Africans “grapple with the “new normal” and begin to rebuild”. 

The tech giant is hinging its support on four pillars- Businesses, Job seekers, Educational institutions, and Vulnerable population.

Supporting African businesses

Small businesses have been hardest hit in this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. We have set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources for businesses and individuals, and we’ll be helping 500,000 small businesses get online or improve their digital presence through Google My Business.

Once people can find them on Google and Google Maps, these businesses will be able to connect with millions of customers every month.

We’re also launching a tool that helps people to put together a marketing kit for their business. Using information from their Google My Business profile it helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.

SMB owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are often less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries.

Our free Market finder tool is aimed at helping businesses across Africa to reach new customers around the world. The tool, which includes updated insights for negotiating a COVID-19 and post-COVID environment, helps with localisation, international payments, and logistics, so you can effectively reach global customers who may be looking for your products or services.

Helping jobseekers

Millions of people across the continent in formal and informal jobs have been impacted and are looking for new work opportunities. We want to help them to acquire new skills. 

Starting in November, we’ll be providing $750k in IT support scholarships through Google.org, focused on underserved communities and job seekers who can’t afford data. This 5-course certificate includes an innovative curriculum designed to prepare you for an entry-level role in IT support. 

Job seekers can access our Grow with Google training portal to help grow your career or business at your own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build your confidence and help you thrive.

Supporting educational institutions and upskilling teachers

This year we experienced educational disruption at a scale we’ve never seen before. And back to school will look different for many as schools adopt a hybrid physical and virtual learning model. Through Google for Education, we are working with partners across Africa to help deploy our suite of education products in schools to help 500,000 students continue learning.

Technology can make distance learning easier and more accessible. To help teachers keep teaching we aim to give 25,000 educators from across the continent access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.

We are also giving a $250k grant to organisations in Nigeria to provide fellowships, distance learning programs, and remote education tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools across the country. 

Assistance to vulnerable populations 

Google.org will be providing $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment. 

We are giving a grant of $1M to GiveDirectly Kenya to help 500 women living in informal settlements who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19. The grant is aimed at helping them to start their own businesses or find new ways of supporting themselves financially.

In South Africa, we are supporting the Youth Employment Service to provide twelve-month employment opportunities and digital skills to black young people in South Africa through a $500k grant. 

We are also donating $500,000 to the Praekelt Foundation to help train micro and small businesses in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. 

Musa Suleiman
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