Google expands “AI First” accelerator to Africa

Google has launched its AI First program in Africa to provide startups with access to Google's AI expertise, Cloud Platform resources, and networking opportunities.

Google expands “AI First” accelerator to Africa

Google has launched its “AI First” accelerator program in Africa to provide AI expertise, Cloud Platform resources, and networking opportunities to early and growth-stage startups on the continent.

The 10-week equity-free accelerator program is focused on Africa-centered solutions with AI and machine learning and it is open to startups in Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

“We're seeking visionary companies in the seed to Series A phase, with strong teams and a clear vision of how AI can address tangible challenges. If this echoes the ethos of your startup, we warmly invite you to embark on this transformative expedition with us,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of startup ecosystem at Google in Sub-Saharan Africa. Startups are invited to apply by September 6, 2023. Meanwhile, the program is scheduled to run from September to November this year.

AI First is more than a program,” Aiyegbusi said. “It’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.” Selected startups will receive up to $350,000 in Google Cloud credits. 10 startups were selected for the “AI First” accelerator in Europe last month, it is unclear if Google intends to select a similar number in Africa.

“While the African tech ecosystem is rapidly evolving, investment in AI startups is still in its infancy,” says Monalisa Agbata, an emerging technology analyst.

In the first half of this year, funding for the sector in Africa plummeted 98% compared to H1 2022, according to BD Funding Tracker. Globally, AI funding plunged 43% in Q1 2023, compared to the same period in the previous year, CB Insights says it's the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2018.
Related Article: African countries rank lowest on the AI readiness index globally

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