By Ogova Ondego
Published July 2, 2015
Facebook has opened its first office in Africa as the US-based social networking medium sets its “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).”
With the first African office in the South African commercial capital, Johannesburg, Facebook said in a media release issued on June 29, 2015 that it would also focus on “Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia” as it helped “businesses connect with people and grow locally and regionally.”
Saying it would “partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localised solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide” as it continued “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 announced that its African office will be headed by South African Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke.
This comes at a time when Facebook reports that active users of its service in September 2014 to stand at 120 million in June 2015. More than 80% of these people access Facebook from their mobile phones, Facebook says.
“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,” says says Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice-President in charge of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. VP, EMEA, Facebook.She says 52% of Facebook’s advertising revenue came from outside the US and Canada in the first quarter of 2015. “But we’re just getting started.”
“Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be more true in Africa – where so many people are mobile-only. This new office is a significant milestone for Facebook and our teams want to partner with businesses across the continent,” Mendelsohn adds.
“Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across EMEA. Facebook is already a central part of people’s lives in Africa, and with more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to help people and businesses connect.”
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“Our new African office will support our 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,” says Ari Kesisoglu, Facebook’s Regional Director in charge of Middle East and Africa (MEA). “Our priority for the next few months is to continue the work we are already doing with some clients in this region. We will work more closely with businesses and agencies to understand the challenges, so that we can build solutions that help grow their business. People increasingly want to be connected to the world around them and desire information about new services and products to better their lives. At the same time, businesses need stronger, more flexible and less fragmented ways of reaching people in Sub Saharan Africa. Our mission will be to connect brands and consumers in Africa, creating value for all parties in the process.”
Nunu Ntshingila, who is credited with having driven the creation of Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa across 27 countries, takes up her position as Facebook’s head of African office in September 2015.