Over a month after Google revealed its plans to expand the “AI First” accelerator program to Africa, the tech giant has now chosen the first batch of 11 African startups for this initiative.
These selected startups include three Nigerian companies: Famasi Africa, Izifin, and Vyz. Additionally, the chosen startups consist of Avalon Health from South Africa, Chatbots Africa from Ghana, Dial Afrika Inc from Kenya, Fastagger Inc from Kenya, Lengo AI from Senegal, Logistify AI from Uganda, Garri Logistics from Ethiopia, and Telliscope from Ethiopia.
A report by McKinsey Global Institute highlights that AI has the potential to increase Africa’s GDP to $1.3 trillion by 2030. Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s head of the startup ecosystem in Africa, emphasizes, “It has undeniable potential to provide solutions and boost economic prosperity. As we approach a technological renaissance, the role of AI in reshaping our world is becoming increasingly clear.”
Aiyegbusi notes that these 11 selected startups will embark on a 10-week accelerator program. They will not only gain from Google’s AI expertise but also receive $350,000 in Google Cloud Credits. Furthermore, the startups will have access to mentorship sessions, technical guidance, and networking opportunities, all aimed at enhancing their reach and impact.
Adeola Ayoola, co-founder of Famasi Africa, expresses confidence in their growth, stating, “With Google’s mentorship, we are confident of expanding our solutions, reaching more pharmacies, and ultimately improving healthcare outcomes.”
Aiyegbusi underscores the significance of the “AI First” program, stating, “It’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realize their full potential.”
Despite the rapid evolution of the African tech ecosystem, investment in AI startups is still in its early stages. In the first half of this year, funding for the sector in Africa saw a 98% decline compared to H1 2022, according to BD Funding Tracker. Globally, AI funding dropped by 43% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year, marking the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2018, as reported by CB Insights.