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Google Wants to Tap into the African Concept of ‘Ubuntu’

The Ubuntu philosophy, which was supposed to pivot pan Africanism, has struggled to become a reality—with certain African countries seeking a protectionist agenda even under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Proponents of Ubuntuism such as South African fallen cleric Desmond Tutu see it as a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity—in this case all Africans. In Zulu, it means “I am because we are.” Even when it comes to technology, though some startups have tried to ride on the philosophy, a sense of commonness is lacking and technological progress on the continent is still limited to a few hubs. But Google now wants to change all that. Through its $1 billion five-year investment plan, the company aims to use technology to unite all 55 countries. During its second edition of Google for Africa event, the company highlighted that by providing multiple opportunities in the internet, offering training, and adding more African languages to its products, Ubuntiusm can be resuscitated. Google’s definition of Ubuntuism centers on making tech ubiquitous in every African nation, but 44 countries in the continent are yet to experience products such as Street View, and Google Maps updates on road networks across the continent can take several years compared to other regions. Google’s investments could one day help millions of Africans do business online, watch HD videos on YouTube, search for rural directions on Maps and ‘Google’ in their local languages.