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The African Development Bank and Google have formalised cooperation aimed at advancing digital transformation in Africa 

AfDB Google image(L-R) AfDB vice-president Solomon Quaynor, president Dr Akinwumi Adesina and Google senior vice-president Dr James Manyika. (Image source: African Development Bank Group)

The parties signed a Letter of Intent during the Global Africa Business Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The agreement underscores a shared commitment to harness emerging technologies, extend and improve infrastructure, and refine talent and skills in the continent.

Both parties have a history of fostering digital evolution. Over the past decade, the African Development Bank has invested US$1.9 bn in projects emphasising the development of broadband infrastructure, conducive policy and regulatory environments, digital skills, and innovative technology startups.

"Our journey from a 2% telephony penetration in 1998 to today's era of 4G, 5G, and AI signifies immense progress. With 70% of sub-Saharan Africans under 30, our focus is on catalysing businesses to create jobs and offer innovative solutions," said Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank.

Google has been a longtime partner in Africa’s economic growth and digital transformation. In 2005 Google invested in a major submarine telecommunications cable - the Seacom cable. Since then, Google has been committed to digital transformation by supporting talent development, innovation, infrastructure, and regulatory advancements across the continent.

Working together with African Development Bank, Google will offer technical assistance to bolster entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in digitising their businesses, securing financing, mastering digital marketing, and advancing private sector development.

James Manyika, Google's senior vice-president of research, technology & society, said, “With advanced technologies like AI, the most profound transformation is yet to come.

Collaboration will be essential if Africa is to realise this opportunity, building for everyone and ensuring no-one is left behind. We are excited to collaborate with the African Development Bank to work towards this shared commitment.”