Phillip Isakpa and Saviour Adugba
- Move seen as strong commitment to Africa
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, paid a surprise visit to Lagos, Nigeria in August 2016; and against widely held western media view that the country was unsafe for the likes of Zuckerberg, he added a twist to that visit by walking on the streets of Nigeria’s own technology incubation hub, Yaba, Lagos, without as much of security as would have been expected. It was a gesture that registered Zuckerberg’s strong intention for his business in Nigeria.
Fast forward to 2020, that 2016 visit is now being cemented by a confidence-boosting decision by Facebook, the company Zuckerberg founded, announcing on Friday that the office that would service its operations in sub-Saharan Africa, will be located in Lagos. Yes, the same Lagos Zuckerberg paid a surprise visit to in 2016, and the streets on which he walked without much security tailing him. He was safe during the walk back then and now his company, Facebook, is making a full bet on Nigeria for the now and the future.
The Lagos office is expected to service the company’s operations in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a statement seen by Business A.M.
Facebook said that it is opening the Lagos, Nigeria office as it looks to consolidate its commitment and continuous investment in Africa.
The new office will be Facebook’s second office in Africa and is strategically positioned to support Facebook’s operations in the entire sub-Saharan Africa region.
In the statement made available to Business A.M, Facebook said that the Nigerian office is expected to become operational in the second half of 2021 and that the office will be the first on the African continent to house a team of engineering experts who will be building for the future of Africa and beyond.
The Facebook Lagos office is going to house several teams that will service the company’s continental operations, including teams that cover business, communications, engineering, partnerships, policies and sales.
Reacting to the development, Ime Archibong, head of new product experimentation at Facebook stated that: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa, we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”
In his own reaction, Kojo Boakye; director of public policy, Africa at Facebook said, “Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our on-going commitment to the region.
“Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa,” Boakye further said.
Reacting to the announcement, Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook Africa regional director, said, “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”
Facebook’s investment in its new office in Lagos comes after the social media giant invested in NG_Hub, a flagship community hub space in partnership with Nigeria’s Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) in 2018, and the opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) in collaboration with Teleperformance in 2019.