I will support Nigeria’s tech startups, SMEs- Zuckerberg

Chidi Samuel

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, has promised Nigerian’s technology startups and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  of Facebook’s support that will enhance easy access and connectivity to the internet.

He made the pledge in Lagos while addressing technology startups on the second day of his unannounced visit to Nigeria.  Describing Nigerian as the largest African market for Facebook with 18 million of the global two billion people connected to Facebook.

The Facebook founder who was thrilled by his visit to the country informed his audience that his visit was to enable him interact with startups and exchange views about the various software apps they have developed to meet to tackle long and immediate challenges in the country. According to him supporting SMEs in Nigeria and Africa is key to economic development because SMEs drive economies, and that Facebook has created 16 million free pages on the Facebook platform for SME business globally.

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“Nigeria currently has 18 million people on Facebook, that interact and do different kinds of online businesses, among them are SMEs and Facebook is willing to support them to populate their numbers and provide easy access to connectivity and the internet,” Zuckerberg said during the question and answer session he had with startups and software developers in Lagos.

While urging the Nigerian government to pay attention to infrastructural development and reduction in the cost of internet access for the citizens, especially rural dwellers, Zuckerberg challenged software developers to focus more on local content in building apps that will address specific needs.

Ime Archibong,   Facebook’s Director of Global Product Partnerships, who coordinated the developers, said: “When I came to Lagos back in May this year, I was really struck by the energy of the tech scene in Lagos, and by how many of the developers were building relevant apps. As someone with strong links to Nigeria, I have been trying to expose Mark to this ecosystem for a while, and I am very excited for him to be able to come to Nigeria to meet some of Nigeria’s top entrepreneurs and apps developers’.

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Mark Zuckerberg  visit to Nigeria was unannounced and without government preparation and participation.