CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa, using his time in the country to with a choreographed visit to the Yaba technology hub in Lagos, meeting with developers and partners.
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.
Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), Nigeria’s first social innovation centre based in Lagos has just announced three new start-ups have been admitted to its incubation program. 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.
“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” shared Zuckerberg.
“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.”
Checking in on investments
Mark then went to Andela, an engineering organization that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa. Earlier this year Andela completed their Series B funding a $24M round led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This marked the first time that Mark and Priscilla had led a round and join Google Ventures (GV) investing in Andela also.
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.
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 and this is one of the main reasons reason Facebook are so hot on Africa right now. It provides massive growth potential and the opportunities it will bring are far outside of the social networks core business, building WiFi networks and going head to head with Google to dominate the continents internet users is the future.