Mark Zuckerberg's Visit To Africa:What Does It Mean For The Continent?

Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg made an unexpected visit to Lagos, Nigeria last month and this was unexpected for most of the developers and entrepreneurs that had registered for the Facebook developers town hall Q&A he eventually chaired, but probably expected by the inner cycle of brilliant Nigerians that work with him at Facebook.

The visit comes at a very significant time in Nigeria which Mark Zuckerberg in his response to a question at the town hall meeting summarized as;

“The economy is shifting from a resource based economy to an entrepreneurial and knowledge based economy and Nigerians are the ones leading that change, not only in remaking Lagos, Nigeria, but shaping the whole continent and influencing how things are going to work around the world for the next generation”.

By Marvelous Tinevimbo Chibagidi

Nigerian  governments in the past relied on the security of oil revenue, but with a fall in global oil prices, increase in supply in global markets and increased militancy in the oil rich states of Nigeria, the President Buhari led government is forcefully looking away from oil to taxation, external borrowing and other things it understands.

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Zuckerberg in Yaba Lagos at the Co-Creation Hub with kids at a summer coding camp

Why not technology, startups and entrepreneurship you may be quick to ask? The easy answer is learning curve, and changing stripes which makes the significance of Mark Zuckerberg’s investment in Andela, a developer incubator and supplier to the global market all the more important.

That investment which indirectly serves as foreign direct investment came at a time when heavy regulatory involvement has greatly discouraged new and repeat investors in Nigeria and Africa at large. Zuckerberg’s visit to Andela as part of his trip to Lagos shines further light on Andela and the story as a ray of hope in a time were African economy has since been facing challenges.

Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony will be the key that opens the door for foreign direct investment into the technology scene in Nigeria,Kenya and Africa as a whole. As an entrepreneur, this is the time to be ready to ride the wave that is coming. Those brilliant products that you have built that you shelved because of funding can be brought out now. The wave is coming and you need to be positioned for it.

After his visit to Nigeria, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went to Kenya, using his time in the country to visit the iHub technology hub in Nairobi, meet with developers and partners, and explore how the country’s pioneering mobile money ecosystem is evolving.

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Mark Zuckerberg having lunch with Joseph Mucheru Kenyan cabinet secretary for ICT

Zuckerberg was in Kenya to see how technology innovation is changing the country, learn more about what mobile entrepreneurs are doing with the latest technology, and find out how Facebook can better support small businesses, developers and content creators across growing markets.

He was  particularly excited to see how mobile money and social media are driving commerce in the region and creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and communities.

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Zuckerberg in Nairobi Kenya at iHub were he got to meet entrepreneurs

His surprise visits to Kenya and Nigeria are seen as seen as a validation of the growing tech scene and a symbol of more to come. His visit will fuel and inspire more youth to follow his entrepreneurial journey as well as encourage the African governments to work more with local  tech entrepreneurs.

Zuckerberg’s visit to Africa is a clear sign that the continent’s tech scene is under the radar. It is no longer something to go by hence the interest in investment. Africa has seen a lot of startups and hubs sprouting all across the motherland. According to the World Bank ,as of 2015, Africa had over 90 hubs spread across the continent.

More than half of the continent’s economies had at least one hub. These numbers are impressive and indicative of the tech scene. It is also important to note that both parties are set to benefit massively should everything go well.

Mark Zuckerberg is a tech guru who brings experience and investment. On the other hand Africa presents some of the brightest minds and an unsaturated tech industry with massive potential.One of the possible offshoots of the visit could be an uptick in start-up funding by foreign investors.Increased funding for our local startups will boost founders who have been predominantly been forced to bootstrap businesses , and change a crucial statistic:angel investment and venture capital accounts for only 12% of start-up funding on the continent.

So like there still is hope for Israel there sure is way too much hope for African techies and the technology at large as we are slowly taking the world by storm and soon work from the people from our continet will soon be greatly appreciated globally.

 

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