Two days ago, Google [NASDAQ: GOOG] announced that it will be training about 1 million Africans in digital and computing skills.
The details of this positive plan will see 400 000 Nigerians, 300 000 South Africans, 200 000 Kenyans and about 100 000 other youths from sub-Saharan African countries trained in various digital skills which will include web programming and software skills that can generate jobs, boost entrepreneurial abilities of teeming Africans who are struggling with unemployment and underemployment.
Announcing Google’s intentions, Luke Mckend, Google South Africa Country Manager, said: “Google is in Africa for the long haul and we are making an investment in talent. We hope that the people trained will become pioneers in the field and do great things in digital for companies and for Google.” Moreover, Google’s plan to engage in this mass training is coming at the right time when the Internet access in Africa is all time high. Mobile networks and data providers now charge less than 70% of what they used to charge for monthly mobile data subscription. The digital divide in Africa is gradually closing up. Sadly, the digital knowledge gap/divide is wider than any other continent. Google’s plan is a welcome development in a holistic sense.
Moreover companies like Google have been accused of using such corporate social responsibilities to reduce their tax burdens. Because moves like these generate huge jobs, Google, Microsoft [NASDAQ:MSFT], Facebook [NASDAQ: FB] and Apple [NASDAC: APPL] use such milestones to make justifications for their low tax remittances. While this is not a crime per say, authorities in the US and Europe are raising eyebrows that such programmes are mere clandestine gimmicks aimed at technically evading taxes.
The fact still remains that Google and other tech giants are solving major problems such as unemployment. A problem governments in Africa and the Middle East are either at their wits end on how to create jobs or have no fundamental blueprint on how to tackle it. Training 400 000 Nigerians in digital skills is a huge contribution as it will have multiple benefits on the Nigerian tech ecosystem and a cyclical SME community.
Header image: google.com