FACEBOOK founder Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise visit to Nigeria yesterday to inspect the numerous hubs across Lagos that have made his social media platform available to millions of Nigerians and has expressed surprise at the level of ingenuity he saw.
Arriving unannounced, Mr Zuckerberg, 32, visited and inspected the activities of the Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub), Yaba in Lagos upon his arrival. His arrival to Nigeria is not unconnected to the Facebook for developers workshop’ for Nigerian engineers, product managers and partners holding today in Lagos.
One Facebook source said: “It was a top secret and nobody was meant to know before his arrival. It was actually for security reasons but now that he is here, he would be able to interact with tech professionals and other Nigerians today in a press conference at Eko Hotel and Suites today.”
Today’s event is expected to help engineers build better applications and monetise them more effectively. Before Mr Zuckerberg’s arrival, it was announced that Facebook’s country director of global product partnerships, Ime Archibong was to lead speakers to the company Facebook would unveil a 10-year roadmap that can help improve Nigeria’s economy.
Facebook is an online social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, which Mr Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard College students and roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes formed on February 4, 2004. After its initial public offering in February 2012, Facebook began selling stock to the public reaching a peak market capitalisation of $104bn.
On July 13, 2015, Facebook became the fastest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to reach a market cap of $250bn. As of March this year, Facebook had hit over 1.65bn monthly active users out of which 7.1m people are daily users from Nigeria.
Mr Zuckerberg has already met with developers and partners and also explored Nollywood. One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a Summer of Code Camp at CC-Hub in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria where young developers learn how to code and develop their solutions while looking for mentors and angel investors.
At CC-Hub, 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 mobilising blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.
Thrilled by level of technology development at the CcHub, Mark Zuckerberg, said: “This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa but the energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CC-Hub to build and launch their applications.”