You are here

ECA and Google Sign Agreement to Foster and Accelerate Digital Transformation in Africa

19 February, 2024
ECA and Google Sign Agreement to Foster and Accelerate Digital Transformation in Africa

Addis Ababa, 19 February 2024 (ECA) - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Google LLC (Google) have signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster and accelerate digital transformation in Africa on the margins of the 2024 edition of the Africa Business Forum. 

The partnership is founded on the complementary expertise and strengths of both parties who wish to collaborate on activities to support ECA’s mandate such as digital development in Africa in line with the African Union Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030) and Google’s Digital Sprinters Framework, and to leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the benefit of Africa’s digital economy. As a general framework for collaboration, the MoU will seek to further explore specific key areas of interest pertaining to digital skills development for Africa's burgeoning young population, startup development, increasing financial inclusion, strengthening cybersecurity and online safety measures, and advancing AI policy research for policymakers on the continent.

ECA’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Claver Gatete, acknowledged Google’s pivotal role in improving Africa’s connectivity infrastructure, supporting Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs, and building digital capacity in emerging technologies through skills development for researchers, students and educators.

"This partnership holds the potential to produce significant and influential outcomes in tackling digital challenges and narrowing the digital divide across the African continent," Mr. Gatete remarked.

Africa, with the lowest internet penetration rate globally, sees 63% of its population without internet access. The ECA is committed to closing digital divides by promoting infrastructure development and affordability, sound regulatory environment, and fostering digital skills.

To tap into Africa's digital transformation potential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063, it is crucial that the continent's youth—projected to account for nearly half of the global youth population by 2030—are prepared for a digital future and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Doron Avni, Google's Vice President of Government Affairs & Public Policy, Emerging Markets, said: “With advanced technologies like AI, the most profound transformation is yet to come. Collaboration will be essential if Africa is to realize this opportunity and ensure no-one is left behind. We are excited to collaborate with the ECA to work towards this shared objective.”

As part of the Agreement, Google and ECA will endeavor to begin collaboration on the three following areas:

First, Startup development: Google will endeavor to partner with ECA to reach its target to enable 1M startups to generate USD 100B in revenue by 2033. We will focus on tech startups solving for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Africa by providing them with mentorship and coaching from hundreds of Google employees.

Second, Computer Science Education: Second, Computer Science Education: Starting in 2024, ECA, Camden Trust and Google will endeavor to upskill over 5000 young African students and 200 teachers on computer science and robotics to support their participation in the World Robot Olympiad global competition and increase Africa’s representation. The organizations aim to operate in more than 10 countries, including Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

And third area of collaboration is Cybersecurity: ECA and Google will endeavor to collaborate to foster a resilient culture of digital security within the region. We will do this through dialogues with public officials, training workshops and the sharing of best practices. Additionally, the partnership seeks to conduct collaborative research on Cybersecurity and its connection to achieving the SDGs and Agenda 2063.


About ECA

Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its Member States, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development. ECA is made up of 54 Member States and plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape. For more information, visit:


About Google

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Google Cloud, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826


For Google LLC:

Google LLC
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043, USA