Mark Zuckerberg in Africa
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook landed in Nigeria on Tuesday September the 30th. This is his first ever visit to sub-saharan Africa. The trip is aimed mostly at identifying the means by which Africa’s tech revolution can be propelled forward and the role that Facebook can play. Zuckerberg has of late shown a great interest in African initiatives. 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.
Chan Zuckerberg initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in December 2015 by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. The limited liability company has an investment of US$1 billion in shares in each of the next three years. The initiative aims at advance human potential and promoting equality in education, health, scientific research and energy. According to the founders, the initiative will make long-term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years because as some of the challenges it sets out to solve require time.
Andela extends engineering teams with world-class software developers by recruiting the most talented developers on the African continent. The institute shapes developers into technical leaders and places them as full-time players with large corporations like Microsoft and IBM. Andela has been backed by influential initiatives like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures) and Spark Capital. Andela is one of the many places that Mark has stopped by while on his visit.
“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.”
Seni Sulyman, Director, Andela
Pushing for connectivity in Africa
In October 2015, the Facebook CEO announced AMOS-6 project. AMOS-6 is a satellite that is going to provide internet coverage to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Once launched into a geostationary orbit, it will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. The project is part of Facebook’s internet.org efforts to connect the world. The satellite is meant to connect people living in remote regions where traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient hence the need for new innovative technologies and inventions.
What the visit means
Mark’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 that 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.