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Facebook launches first community hub space in Africa

Emeka Afigbo, Platform Partnerships, Head of Middle East & Africa speaking at the Facebook launch.

Facebook has announced its first tech space in Africa following in the footsteps of search giant Google who in July 2017 launched an ambitious initiative to train 10 million young people in online skills over five years. The new initiative is to cement Facebook commitment and investment in the country, and across the continent.

The hub will offer support to tech startups and will also train 50,000 young people and SMEs in digital skills across the country.

Opening in 2018, the hub will incorporate a series of high profile partnerships, training programs and a physical space that will serve as a Centre for learning and skills development, this set of initiatives is aimed at helping to develop and nurture communities, including small businesses, the tech and start-up ecosystem, youths and creatives.

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Emeka Afigbo, Head of platform partnerships, Middle East & Africa said: “What we aim to do at the incubator is to provide support for high tech startups that do not ordinarily get investments, until they can develop a proof of concept, which will attract other investors.”

With an eye on growing their user base, US technology companies are increasingly turning to Africa’s large youth population. Facebook has been investing heavily in Africa, recently appointing a regional director based in South Africa.

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In Nigeria alone, there are 22 million monthly Facebook users; 10 million of them log in daily to the platform, all on mobile devices, Facebook says.

In August, founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria and Kenya for the first time and visited the Co-Creation (CCHub). He met with developers and entrepreneurs and spent time learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria.”The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can,” he said during his visit.

During that visit, Zuckerberg announced an investment of 24 million dollars through his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Andela, a tech startup that trains software developers in Africa and gives them full-time roles in international companies.

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