Mark Zuckerberg courts Africa’s politicians, entrepreneurs and developers in first trip

Facebook’s chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is wrapping up his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

Mis à jour le 2 septembre 2016 à 16:47

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, poses with Kenyan tech entrepreneurs in Nairobi’s iHub © Photo: Facebook

Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook at the age of 20, visited Lagos and Nairobi this week to meet with politicians, developers and entrepreneurs in both countries.

He is trying to gather support for the social media network’s controversial plan to grow its presence on the continent.

« The energy [in Lagos] is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can, » Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. « Visited Nollywood, crashed a hip hop music video, and met some of Nigeria’s biggest stars, » he added in a later update.

Zuckerberg met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.
The social media pioneer said he had gone to Nairobi « to learn about mobile money – where Kenya is the world leader. »

His visit comes as Facebook is trying to ramp up internet connectivity on the continent with its Internet.org programme, which allows users free access to a handful of websites, including Facebook.

With growth in new users declining in North America and Europe, Zuckerberg is turning to emerging markets, like Africa and Asia, for new users.

But the programme, which has launched several satellites and dozens of drones in a bid to connect new African users, has been criticised for violating net neutrality laws.

Read the rest of this article on The Africa Report, a publication of Groupe Jeune Afrique.