Google is investing in its first-ever Africa product development centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, it said.

This is as the search engine positions itself to serve a growing base of Internet users on the continent.

By the end of this decade, the continent will host 800 million Internet users, the firm said, and a third of the world’s youth population, making it an attractive investment destination.

Google is hiring engineers, product managers, user experience designers and researchers to staff the new centre, said Suzanne Frey, vice president for products, and Nitin Gajria, the head of Google Africa, in a joint blog post on Tuesday.

The company is investing US$1-billion in various projects on the continent over five years, its CEO Sundar Pichai said last October, to help economies accelerate their digital transformation.

It has already opened an artificial intelligence centre in Accra, Ghana, focusing on innovations that can be applied to various challenges.

Microsoft has also been investing in technology development hubs in Kenya and Nigeria, investing $100-million and hiring hundreds of engineers in both countries.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za