Nigeria got the honour of being the first sub-Saharan country to host the CEO of (probably) the most popular social networks and Instant Messaging services (mark the plural) in any side of the world. Mr. Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark arrived yesterday (30th) at Lagos and spent the rest of the day meeting with key industry players in the tech ring. This was a surprise visit that wasn’t made public prior. Today (31st) the Nigerian leg of the Facebook Developer Workshop takes place. In short, Facebook’s presence in the West African state’s tech ecosystem is felt pretty well, other Facebook activities and partnerships including the launch of ‘Express Wi-Fi’ together with Cool Link.
It is said that he will visit (or already visited) Jobberman, one of the Andela startups that Facebook has sunk its support into and perhaps a cuppa with the government and a few other stakeholders.
His visit would not be complete without a drop-in at Yaba, described as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria, where he toured a coding camp for kids and met with 50 local startup founders and developers at CcHub, a local innovation center.
The company (Facebook), in a statement, described the visit as an opportunity for it to “better support tech development and entrepreneurship across Africa.” In a press statement to CNN, Zuckerberg said “There’s so much energy and so much potential here. I just want to walk around and meet folks.” And proceeded to walk down a street at some point, drawing loud cheers from passersby.
Andela, a startup that had the opportunity to host Mark for a short visit was thrilled to have him” there. “Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level,” said Seni Sulyman, Andela’s director.
One of the most popular initiatives by Facebook for the African continent is the Free Basics Initiative to provide free (portions of the) internet in countries including Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Last week (26th August) the Kenyan edition of the Facebook for Developers workshop was held in the country. Looks like Facebook has a liking for this continent.
Guess what, Zuck’s been here as well. Yesterday (1st September) he jetted in, had tilapia and ugali at Mama Oliech’s (and apparently loved it). We’ve also seen his Instagram post of a safari drive, a must-do in the country.