Facebook to open its first office in Africa

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Internet-based companies are increasingly looking across the globe to expand their user base, and Facebook is no exception.

The social media company is set to open its first office in Africa following a significant growth in Facebook users on the continent. In 2015, the number of users in Africa rose by 20 million to reach 120 million. With a total population of around 1 billion, there is plenty of scope for expansion in the future.

The office will have 25 employees and operate out of Johannesburg, South Africa. It will initially concentrate its marketing efforts in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Marketing veteran Nunu Ntshingila will head up the operation.

Facebook said in a company statement that it already provides support to a number of African countries, including Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. Facebook will concentrate its efforts on mobile support because around 80 per cent of Facebook users across Africa access it from a mobile device.

Facebook vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn, said: “Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be more true in Africa – where so many people are mobile-only.

“Facebook is already a central part of people’s lives in Africa, and with more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to help people and businesses connect.”

Facebook has been at the forefront of helping Africans get online with its Internet.org program. It works with local data providers by supplying free connectivity to websites such as Wikipedia, job recruitment sites, BBC News, and Facebook itself. Despite the controversy over only offering pre-selected websites, the marketing advantages are plain to see.

Facebook isn’t the first US company to move into Africa; Google has had a few offices there for several years.

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