Google has a brand new program aimed at helping Africans learn Internet and computer skills to improve employability. The announcement was made at a conference dubbed "Google for Nigeria." The company has done a lot of work over its life to promote the betterment of people from various cultures around the world, but its goals in Africa are particularly ambitious. In addition to wanting to ultimately train 10 million residents in computing skills, the company has another initiative to train 100,000 software developers in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. Moreover, the program aims to ensure that the training is gender-neutral, with at least 40 percent of those trained being women. Going further still, Google has proposed a plan to fund mentorships and work spaces for more than 60 start-ups within the continent over the course of three years and to the tune of $3 million – all of which is planned to be equity-free. Finally, Google-owned YouTube is currently testing a new version of YouTube – called YouTube Go – for areas with slower networks. That testing has been happening in Nigeria since June and should reportedly see a release worldwide later in 2017.
Google's decision to involve itself in Africa is likely tied to a need to improve the standard of living – in technology terms – for people living on the continent. In general, wealth inequality, substandard infrastructure, and population growth have led to a propagation of mostly basic mobile devices, leaving a lot of opportunities for the Android company to make headway. The overall training will involve both online training and in-person training, with a significant focus on mobile development. Training will be provided in Swahili, Hausa, and Zulu. One piece of information that Google hasn't revealed is just how much it is investing or willing to invest in its initiative. The tech giant also didn't divulge how much the program will cost for participants if they must pay anything at all. However, any charges should be very low if a charge is entailed since a large portion of the population of countries involved is relatively poor.
As mentioned above, this certainly isn't Google's first foray into helping citizens from numerous countries across the planet move ahead. It has also recently made efforts to help change negative opinions about refugees from Syria, used machine learning to take on cancer and other healthcare issues, and has unleashed a series of tools to help people gain employment more readily. YouTube Go has already been giving an increasing number of people access to the information and media available via the service. The company's "Don't Be Evil" mantra may technically be gone, but it continues striving to shine the light of progress in various parts of the world – aiming to make individual lives better while continuing to grow its opportunities as a technology-driven business.