Facebook set to Open Office in Kenya

Mark Zuckerberg; Facebook Founder and CEO
Mark Zuckerberg; Facebook Founder and CEO

Facebook has listed Kenya among its key business growth hubs in Africa, as it opened its first office on the continent in Johannesburg.

The social media firm that has over five million users in Kenya said it will partner with governments, telecom operators, and other agencies to deliver localised solutions to African advertisers and users.

It also added that 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.

Facebook is facing shrinking advertisement revenue in its traditional markets led by the US and Canada.

The social media giant on Monday announced that it is opening a South Africa office that will be headed by Ogilvy veteran Nunu Ntshingila, the company’s new Head of Africa.

“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),” the firm said in a statement.

It added that other supported territories will include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

On Monday while announcing the opening of the South Africa office, Facebook said that its presence there will support the significant growth in businesses and people using its platform.

Facebook’s active user population in Africa has grown 20 per cent to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014.
More than 80 per cent of these people access Facebook from their mobile phones.

“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 per cent of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, the vice president for Facebook’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division.

The Facebook regional director for Middle East and Africa, Ari Kesisoglu said the new African office will support Facebook’s 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,” Mr Kesisoglu said in a statement.

The usage of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has gained popularity among many across the world and on the continent. This has promoted the firms to consider having a presence on the continent to scout for business opportunities.

In February, Twitter created official accounts in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, hinting that these countries might be the heaviest users of Twitter on the continent, or that it might be interested in growing its local presence.

Twitter announced the accounts – @TwitterNigeria, @TwitterSA and @Twitter Kenya – in the debut tweets from the country-specific accounts on February 2.

Twitter did not say why it had opened the accounts, but social media analysts speculated that the San Francisco-based company might be actively contemplating business development in Nigeria and Kenya.

Twitter advertising is already available in South Africa.

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