Google unveils Kenya’s Mo Amin archive online and grants for SMEs

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  • Kiva will oversee the disbursement of the low-interest loans to help SMEs
  • Last week Google announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation

Google Kenya has announced a disbursement of $10 million to support the economic recovery of small and medium enterprises across Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria during their virtual Google Kenya event.

A non-profit organisation, Kiva, will oversee the disbursement of the low-interest loans to help the SMEs get through the economic hardship created by COVID-19.

This follows the announcement made at the Google for Africa event last week where CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, announced the plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation.

The investment is expected to focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business; and helping non-profits to improve lives across Africa.

“KIVA has engaged two local financial service providers who are going to be disbursing the loans in Kenya in the next few weeks. Together with those partners we shall be sharing modalities of how to apply for the loans,” Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Google Eastern Africa.

To celebrate Mashujaa Day, Google also launched the largest online exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of photojournalist Mohamed Amin as part of Google Arts & Culture continued commitment to preserving and sharing Kenya & heritage.

The year-long digitisation project has been jointly implemented by Google Arts & Culture and the Mohamed
Amin Foundation.

Spearheaded by Salim Amin, the online exhibition ‘Mo Amin: Eye of Africa’ shines a light on four decades of the Kenyan photojournalist’s career and allows audiences to explore over 6,000 photographs and more than 50 stories representing a visual journey of the key moments, places and people that he documented in the late 20th century.

Google CEO / PHOTO: Inc

This is the first Google Arts & Culture Lab experiment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture & Heritage welcomed the launch saying the ‘Mo Amin: Eye of Africa’ is a celebration of the life, work and legacy of Mohamed Amin, one of Kenya’s greatest sons.

“This is yet another instalment towards providing universal access to Kenya’s culture and heritage in Ethiopia Google Arts & Culture platform, following the launch of the online exhibitions: ‘Kenya National Archives’,
‘ Utamaduni Wetu ’ and ‘Kenyan Superheroes’ in 2015, 2020 and 2019 respectively. These achievements are great indicators of our capacities to utilise internet-based technologies to preserve, manage and share in our culture and heritage.”

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Salim Amin, Chairman of Camerapix and The Mohamed Amin Foundation described the project as an incredible honour to their family that will see his father’s legacy shared via Google Arts & Culture.

“My father captured the passion and pain of Africa, never shying from its tragedy, always rejoicing and celebrating its successes. Since my father’s death in 1996, his photographs have been locked away and rarely seen. From today, everyone can access four decades of history and see the world through his unwavering lens. I invite everyone to join me in exploring the archive on Google Arts & Culture, which is a tribute to the African continent, people and the power of photography. “

Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts & Culture said, “This year on Mashujaa Day, we celebrate a Kenyan who is a hero not only for Kenya, but for the world. Mo Amin has impacted many lives – I will never forget Mo’s photos of the tragic famine in Ethiopia and how the world came together after. It has been an honour to work with Salim, the son of the late Mo Amin, to uncover his father’s archive and make it accessible online to the public. We
are incredibly excited to share stories and photos that have never been seen before, and celebrate Mo Amin’s legacy on Mashujaa Day with Kenya and the world.”

Google also launched TaskMate, an app that simplifies the crowdsourcing of tasks from organisations and provides additional earning opportunities to users in Africa.

The app is designed to make it easy to send small tasks, capable of being completed on a smartphone, to people all around the world.

Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Google Eastern Africa, said Kenya is the first country in the world where TaskMate was piloted and that the app is launching in Kenya first then Africa.

She expressed optimism about the impact it will have on Kenyans and beyond.

“At Google, we’re constantly experimenting on products that we believe have a high potential to be helpful to our users in accessing relevant information and opportunities online. Today, Task Mate’s launch in Kenya marks the latest milestone in our journey. In light of the pandemic, where it has become more challenging for Kenyans to find earning opportunities, our mission has been made more urgent and important. I’m excited to see how Task Mate can benefit people and businesses here, and how we can make the app even better for our users.”

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Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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