What is Google Uganda doing? The answer is to build faster internet connections for Ugandans. This will not only increase innovation, but will also increase business. The internet can be a vital resource for many, and Google stands to benefit from connecting more people to the web. The company is already working on a balloon project to connect rural areas. In addition to promoting internet access in rural areas, Google plans to build satellites and expand its mobile phone network.
To help make mobile payments more accessible and safe, Google has invested in a mobile app called SafeBoda. This app has helped bring sanity to Uganda’s motorcycle taxi industry. It also has safety rules for drivers that are mandatory to follow while accepting rides. In Uganda, Google has also created an Africa Investment Fund with $50 million to support early stage and growth stage African startups. It is hoped this will help the companies grow in their home markets.
To create this environment, Google has partnered with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI). The institute was established in 1994 through an interest-free loan from the Chinese government. Today, it has grown under new director, Dr Charles Kwesiga. UIRI operates an incubator program to help small businesses launch their products. The institute currently incubates eight projects, most of which are food-related and involve improving processes of manufacturing.