*Lauds 18m Nigerians on Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook yesterday at his first Developer Conference in Africa held in Lagos that the software entrepreneurship model being developed in Nigeria is the future of the Internet even as he announced that the number of Nigerians using Facebook has risen to 18 million.
Zuckerberg speaking during a question and answer session with over 100 Nigerian engineers said he was in the country to help them build applications that would reach local and international audiences and become a force to be reckoned with in the global space. He advised them to focus on creating value and solving problems for people rather than the gains they would make from their business ventures.
He, however, noted that to lead the way in the continent digital revolution, the country must focus increasing ICT infrastructure from public and private sides, promote affordability and develop locally-relevant solutions that gravitate people to use the Internet.
He said he and his team were working to provide more access to the Internet through ‘Free Basic’, an initiative is already launched in 22 countries across the world including Nigeria, where it is partnering with Airtel. “We are increasingly focused on connectivity and while people are embracing the Internet.
“Something is critical and that is the fact that we must create solutions that enhance life and drive businesses for the people,” he said, advising Nigerian tech entrepreneurs to stay-focused on learning and not to be afraid of failure. “You should not be afraid if failure.
“We should fail and learn from our failure and that was how Facebook started before its current status as a global brand and we are happy that apart from millions of people using Facebook, over 60 million people also use Facebook as platform for free to reach out to people and promote their businesses.”
Facebook Director, Global Product Partnerships, Mr. Ime Archibong, who hosted the developer conference, said, when he came to Lagos back in May this year, he was really struck by the energy of the tech scene and by how many people were building.
“As someone with strong links to Nigeria, I have been trying to expose Mark to this ecosystem for a while so, I am very excited for him to be able to come here and meet some of Nigeria’s top entrepreneurs and developers today,” he said.
Globally, there are over 1.65 billion monthly active Facebook users. Last June, Facebook said its active user population in Africa was 120 million, with many of those coming from Africa’s most populous nation. In February 2016, the social network disclosed that 16 million people in Nigeria visited Facebook every month, with almost 100 per cent accessing it from mobile devices.
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 talented developers in Africa.