A Facebook team led by its Founder, Mark Zuckerberg has ended a three-day visit to Nigeria. The visit, which was Zuckerberg’s first visit to Africa, was geared towards reaching out to technology developers in Nigeria.
According to Zuckerberg, his priority aim of coming to Nigeria is to meet tech people and know their challenges, hence the visit to technology hubs which included CCHub, Andela and Landmark.
Acknowledging that there are 18 million people on Facebook in Nigeria and 16 million business pages on the social platform, Zuckerberg said Nigeria will end up shaping how things are done around the world.
He encouraged Nigerian SMEs to utilise the free access tools provided by Facebook to grow their businesses.
While projecting that Nigeria will be key in shaping the scope of internet use globally, Zuckerberg noted that the key ingredients to ensuring that internet access is grown to cover the globe in the next 15 years include building infrastructure, making access affordable and educating people on the importance of using the resource.
“Half the world still doesn’t have access to the internet. At least when these three things are in place, the next 15 years should see the other half of the people having access to internet.
Speaking on the Whatsapp buyout by Facebook, Zuckerberg said the new owners do not intend to effect policy changes, but will continue to work towards growing the number of users and seeking out ways of connecting people to businesses through Whatsapp. He further said that Facebook is looking forward to investing more in Nigeria by establishing more Developers Academies and partnering with local developers.
During his visit, Zuckerberg engaged technology developers in a Question and Answer (Q&A) session.
The Q&A was part of a developer workshop being hosted in Lagos to help Nigerian engineers build applications to reach local and international audiences.
During the Q&A which saw over 100 developers in attendance, Zuckerberg spoke about how excited he was to visit Nigeria, and witness first-hand the creativity and innovation which is happening in its incubation centers.
Facebook’s Director of Global Product Partnerships, Ime Achibong, hosted the Developer Conference. Achibong said: “When I came to Lagos back in May this year, I was really struck by the energy of the Tech scene here, and by how many people were building. As someone with strong links in Nigeria, I have been trying to expose Mark to this ecosystem for a while, so I am very excited for him to be able to come here and meet some of Nigeria’s top entrepreneurs and developers.”
Facebook, with over 18 million users in Nigeria, recently added Hausa language to its bouquet of languages and says it is currently working on adding ten more languages.