Facebook’s co-founder, Mark Elliot Zuckeberg surprise visit to Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos has continued to dominate the Nigeria media and discussion in social circles. According to eyewitnesses, Zuckerberg arrived in Lagos on Tuesday, 30th August, 2016 and proceeded to a local incubation centre, Co Creation Hub in Yaba, an area in Lagos mainland considered as Nigeria’s Silicon Valley. At the centre, he talked to children who participating in Summer Coding Camp, as well as entrepreneurs who visit the centre to build and launch their apps.
Zuckeberg’s visit to Lagos, was his first in Sub-haran Africa. He said, “it’s great to be here with you guys. He decided to come to Nigeria first because of “the vibrant enterpreneurial and eco system that you have here in Lagos.”
Nigerian youths love Zuckerberg
The 32-year old American programmer thrilled the Nigerian youths when photos emerged where he was walking along the streets of Lagos without armed bodyguards, heavy traffic and convoy; and when he posted photos when he jogging on the Lekki bridge on Wednesday. His choice of relatively unknown young Nigerian enterpreneurs who are daily striving to change the world through software development, as his first choice of visit endeared him to Nigerians also.
The import of Zuckerberg’s visit
“By coming here (Nigeria) first, he has given hope to young people here.” Tijani said. “Mark’s visit was a much-needed external validation of the sweat and immense efforts, mostly unsung, of the young Nigerians who kept at it. And it it was heartwarming to see all the attention hos visit got, even from some young people who are rarely excited by much music and entertainment.” Bello said.
Zuckerberg’s interest in Nigeria
Nigeria is the largest market in Africa for Facebook; 16 million Nigerians using Facebook monthly with 7 million logging onto the platform daily: 97% on their mobile, according to the figures from Facebook. A Nigerian adage says, “the spot that a hunter kills its prey is the spot he visits more often.” In June, he invested millions of dollars in a Lagos startup, Andela. He said that he is in Lagos by himself to listen and learn and to take ideas back to California on how to support more tech businesses on the continent.
It is pertinent to note that most startups in Nigeria thrive against the odds of anaemic power supply, lack of funding and investment, weak infrastructure among others. As such, most young Nigerians make it to success through uncommon hardwork and determination.
Zuckerberg was impressed
Speaking during a Facebook Townhall where he sat down with and hear from Facebook users on how Facebook can do better, he told the young Nigerian developers and enterprenurs who were present that, “things are changing quickly. The economy is shifting from resource-based to entrepreneurial and knowledge-based economy and you would be leading that change in shaping the continent and influencing how things are going to work in the world in the next generation. There is so much energy here, and you feel it as soon as you get down from the plane. The world needs to see that.” No doubt, Zuckerberg’s visit has firmly put Nigeria’s tech business potential in the global spotlight, where visibility comes with unlimited opportunities.
While in Lagos, Zuckerberg met with leading figures in Nollywood, music and comedy. He said, “one of the things that I am excited about my trip to Lagos is going to check out Nollywood. Nollywood sounds like a national treasure and the ability to produce video content that is moving and emotional transcends boundaries and will help tell stories of the amazing innovation, engineering and the culture of the whole world.”