Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa, using his time in the country to visit the Yaba technology hub in Lagos, meet with developers and partners, and explore Nollywood.
Zuckerberg is in Nigeria to listen and learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook can better support tech development and entrepreneurship across Africa.
One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria.
CcHub opened in 2011 and at the time didn’t even have an office. Five years later they fill three floors and the roof of a building. At CcHub people can learn how to code, developers can get help launching their first products, and find mentors and funding.
At CcHub Zuckerberg met with developers like Temi Giwa, who runs a platform called Life Bank that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Life Bank saves lives by mobilizing blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.
After visiting CcHub Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said:
“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.
“The first place I got to visit was 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 in Nigeria.”
Meeting developers at Andela
Mark then went to Andela, an engineering organization that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa.
Andela is a business that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership program. In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants. Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.
Earlier this year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested in Andela after being impressed by the company’s innovative model of learning and its drive to connect the global technology ecosystem with the most talented developers in Africa.
Seni Sulyman, Director, Andela Lagos, said: “We are excited and honored to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos. His visit reinforces not only his support of Andela’s mission, but his belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa. Andela has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high. 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.”
At the end of the day Zuckerberg stopped by an Express WiFi stand in Lagos owned by Rosemary Njoku. Facebook’s Express WiFi lets entrepreneurs like Rosemary set up a hot spot to help their community access apps and services built by local developers.
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. Facebook has 1.04 billion daily active users on average worldwide and 7.2 million daily visitors from Nigeria.
About Red Media Africa
Red Media Africa (www.redmediaafrica.com) is the PR & Empowerment Marketing division under the parent brand, RED. It focuses on using inspiration, empowerment and action to help brands and organisations connect with their audiences, enhance their bottom-lines and lead in their industries. It has 6 major practice areas: Corporate Practice, Technology Practice, SME Practice, Governance Practice, Faith Practice and the International Practice – with work for brands across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. RED owns the continent’s largest portfolio of youth media brands. Its Content Division holds brands across TV, radio, online and events including Y! Magazine,YNaija.com, Rubbin’ Minds, #YTech100 and the The RED Summit. It also anchors a development firm, The Future Project, which projects include Africa’s leading youth platform, The Future Awards Africa, HowCanIGetInvolved.com and Aiki.ng, which is run in conjunction with Microsoft.