Just as news hit that Nigeria is slipping into recession – ouch – Mark Zuckerberg landed in Nigeria. He seemed pretty excited about his first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa on his personal Facebook page:
‘This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.’
Zuckerberg went to the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba:
‘I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people here!’
Facebook are getting more and more involved in African initiative and businesses. They took part in a USD$24 million investment in Andela, a NYC and Lagos-based company that trains local software developers and helps them find jobs all over the world. Read our interview with the 25-year-old co-founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji.
Zuckerberg hosted a Q&A session today on his future plans for Africa domination. He also mentioned how he’d met one woman at Andela who really impressed him:
‘The thing that’s striking is the entrepreneurial energy. When you’re building something what matters the most is who wants it the most. I stopped at Andela, a training programme for software developers, and had the opportunity to meet Blessing Ebowe.
‘She applied to the programme and she didn’t get in but that didn’t matter because she showed up anyway! And she showed up again! And she got through the training programme- she crushed it! And now she’s a working for a multi national company. With an attitude like that you win!’
It’s not a surprise that Zuckerberg made Nigeria his first pit stop on the African continent. At the start of this year Facebook announced that more people in Nigeria use Facebook than any other country in Africa. According to the social network, 16 million people in Nigeria visit Facebook every month and 100 per cent of them are on mobile.
As part of their Internet.org initiative, the company launched the Free Basics service in Nigeria earlier this year. It lets users visit listed websites for free. It’s already available elsewhere in Africa.