In an unannounced fashion, Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, yesterday arrived Lagos-Nigeria to kick start his first tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 100 million Facebook users reside.
According to him, he is in Lagos to “learn more about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria” and meet up with “developers and entrepreneurs”.
Over the years, Nigeria, a country with over 97 million Internet users, has remained Facebook’s largest African market with an average of 16 million active monthly users. Little wonder Lagos-Nigeria had to be the first stop in Zuckerburg’s Sub-Saharan itinerary.
Here are five strategic import of this August visit for Nigeria, its tech industry and the economy;
1. Validation: Zuckerberg’s visit is a huge validation of the foundational thrust and evolving state of Nigeria’s tech industry. It shows that Nigeria’s tech industry is on the right track, establishing a case for technological growth in Nigeria and Africa, thus far. More importantly, is the validation of the resilient spirit of young Nigerians who despite gross unhealthy socio-economic conditions stick out their neck for shared greatness.
2. Visibility: Amidst the many troubles facing Nigeria and the call for economic diversification, Zuckerberg’s visit casts a global attention on an emerging viable tech market that can thrive against all odds. This visit has placed Nigeria on a higher pedestal in the global tech space.
3. Investment: With the validation and visibility stakes, investment opportunities in Nigeria’s tech space will most likely assume a bigger dimension. Venture capitalists and investors will want to be a part of the emerging Nigerian tech portfolio, given a healthy environment.
4. Insight: As the founder of the world’s largest social media platform, Mark Zuckerberg, who is the 6th richest man in the world, certainly has some robust ideas, insight and network to share with core developers and entrepreneurs he is scheduled to meet in Nigeria. The shared insights are expected to help advance tech and entrepreneurial practice in Nigeria.
5. Prospects: This visit creates the assurance that if enabling environments are created for ideas to thrive, the tech industry could, in the next five years, be bigger than Nigeria’s oil sector. Whether or not the government and other relevant stakeholders share this perspective, remains a cause for future deliberation.
Meanwhile, Welcome to Nigeria, Mark Zuckerberg!
Tayo Elegbede JET is a communications strategist, multimedia content producer and digital marketer. Connect with him via www.tayojet.com.ng