Facebook opens first office in Africa

Facebook revealed that it will launch the Internet.org app in Kenya later this weekFacebook’s active user population in Africa has grown 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014. More than 80% of these people access Facebook from their mobile phones to connect with people and businesses in Africa

In fact, some in Africa consider Facebook to be the internet. This is through no fault of their own, as Facebook is often offered for free when other services are not, while data affordability holds back many from getting online. Regardless of this, the potential growth for Facebook in Africa is immense and it is therefore no surprise they have announced the launch of a new office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Headed by Nunu Ntshingila, the company’s new Head of Africa, the office will ” support the significant growth in businesses and people using Facebook.”

“We are inspired by the incredible ways people and businesses in Africa use Facebook to connect. This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions. In Q1 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” says Nicola Mendelsohn, VP, EMEA, Facebook.

The Appsafrica Innovation Awards celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship making an impact in Africa.“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. This new office is a significant milestone for Facebook and our teams want to partner with businesses across the continent,” Mendelsohn adds.

Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across EMEA. 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.”

Helping businesses of all sizes to grow
“Our new African office will support our customers across the continent. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to building products and solutions that address diverse needs on the continent, which is why we are committed to creating solutions tailored to people, businesses and specifically for African markets,” says Ari Kesisoglu, Regional Director, MEA at Facebook.

Kesisoglu continued, “Our priority for the next few months is to continue the work we are already doing with some clients in this region. We will work more closely with businesses and agencies to understand the challenges, so that we can build solutions that help grow their business. People increasingly want to be connected to the world around them and desire information about new services and products to better their lives. At the same time, businesses need stronger, more flexible and less fragmented ways of reaching people in Sub Saharan Africa. Our mission will be to connect brands and consumers in Africa, creating value for all parties in the process.”

Adds Mendelsohn: “We are delighted we have a strong leadership team in place on the continent led by Nunu Ntshingila, our new Head of Africa. Nunu will join our team in September of this year and work with businesses and agencies across the region.” Nunu helped drive the creation of Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa, which spans some 27 countries.

Growth markets
Facebook will initially focus on growing its business in anchor countries in the major regions of Sub Saharan Africa:  Kenya (East Africa), Nigeria (West Africa), and South Africa (Southern Africa). Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

Facebook will partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localised solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide. It will continue to focus on tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in the mobile-first, mobile-only African environment.

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