These past few days has been full of news of Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria, and will continue even days after he leaves.
The Facebook CEO, who is on a business trip to Nigeria, went on a road work this morning, 1st September, along Ikoyi-Lekki Link Bridge. Zuckerberg described his experience as “best way to see a city.”
Yesterday, he was in the company of some Nollywood personalities who held a mini party on his behalf. This was after he had a meeting with software developers and ICT entrepreneurs in Lagos, as well as a 4-minute chat with Mr. Gauis, the young Nigerian who started the journey of meeting all of his 5,000 friends in person.
Mark Zuckerberg Jogging along Ikoyi Bridge
While with some of the Nigerian youths, Mark Zuckerberg pledged to use Nigerian languages in offering services on Facebook, they would start with Yoruba and later include other languages. He also explained why he chose Lagos as the first city to visit in sub-Saharan Africa. “I feel there is great energy here in Lagos.”
The billionaire said the visit was part of the town-hall meeting with people on Facebook communities to learn how to improve users’ experience by developing technologies and engaging entrepreneurs around the world.
“I have been going around the world, to different cities, and we’ve been doing town-hall meetings and we’ve been sitting down with people on Facebook communities, hearing from them about our user services and we can do better.
“Here in Lagos, I want to not just sit down with members of this community, but sit down with developers and entrepreneurs. The reason for that is I feel there is great energy here and I think the world needs to see that.
“Here in Lagos, and across the continent, things are changing really quickly. I mean the economy is shifting from a resource-based economy to entrepreneurial and knowledge-based economy. And you guys (Nigerian entrepreneurs) are the ones who will bring that change. Not only are we making this change in Lagos, Nigeria, but we are shaping the continent and influencing how things are going to work across the world for the next generation.”
“That is the story that is under-appreciated in a lot of places around the world. I think people and investors don’t appreciate the amount of energy here (Nigeria) and what entrepreneurial spirit is like here. I want to have a conversation and talk about technical questions on how to build knowledge-based business and entrepreneurship.”
On his impression about Nigeria, Zuckerberg said he loves the striking entrepreneurial energy that Nigerians have. He also shared a story of a Nigerian, Blessing Obueh, who he described as the perfect example of “Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit”. He said Blessing never gave up after her application to be part of a group of Information Technology (IT) engineers to train at the Facebook Foundation was unsuccessful.
According to him, she showed up at the training and pleaded for a chance and was accepted. “Now, Blessing is working in a multinational engineering firm,” Zuckerberg said.
Meanwhile, the likes of Richard Mofe-Damijo, DJ Cuppy, Rita Dominic, Kunle Afolayan, Chidinma, Yemi Alade and other celebrities were with the millionaire yesterday, having fun, famzing and taking pictures. This trip is not one that Mark will forget in a hurry. Thanks to the welcoming hearts of Nigerians.