(August 31, 2016) Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook – the largest social media network – yesterday paid his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria, his destination, has the largest mobile and internet market on the continent.
The youthful American billionaire and internet entrepreneur, who arrived in Lagos, is in the country to meet a group of entrepreneurs and innovative young Nigerians. Zuckerberg announced the visit via his personal Facebook page, saying he was ready to interact with Nigerian innovators and learn about their business ideas.
Zuckerberg wrote on his wall: “Next stop: Lagos! 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 yesterday visited Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB), a multi- technological ecosystem based in Yaba, Lagos Mainland. He interacted with children on summer coding camp.
He wrote: “Our first stop is 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!”
Zuckerberg’s visit generated online excitement and posts among technology-savvy youths, who expressed views that the billionaire’s visit would give the nation’s youth entrepreneurship market a facelift.
Reports by The Nation newspapers said that last night, the Facebook founder met with Ms Rosemary Njoku, initiator of Facebook Express Wi-Fi stand in Lagos.
Express Wi-Fi, Zuckerberg said, empowers entrepreneurs to build a business by providing their community with access to the internet. He said Facebook designed the technology, but local Internet providers provided the connectivity.
In less than 30 minutes after Zuckerberg shared the post announcing his Nigeria’s visit, more than 60,000 youths made comments, liked and shared the post. This was an indication of excitement among the youth to learn of the Facebook founder’s visit.
Before his visit, Zuckerberg had made positive comments about Nigeria’s entrepreneurs.
CNN quoted Zuckerberg to have said: “I’m excited to see what Nigerians build next.”
Facebook is in partnership with Airtel Africa to execute Internet.org, an initiative which will allow Nigerians access to news, health information and other services without having to pay for data on their mobile devices.