In case you haven’t yet heard, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Africa for the first time last week. On Tuesday, he made a surprise visit to Lagos, Nigeria and then arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday (only to return once more to Nigeria the following day). Want to know a bit about what he was up to while he was in Kenya? Here’s the scoop on that.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Kenya last week on his first trip to Africa. While in the country, he visited the iHub, a technology hub in Nairobi. There he met with developers and partners to explore how the country’s pioneering mobile money ecosystem was evolving.
Mark Zuckerberg was in Kenya to see how technology innovation is changing the country. He aimed to find out more about what mobile entrepreneurs were doing with the latest technology. Another goal was to find out how Facebook could better support small businesses, developers and content creators across growing markets.
Mark Zuckerberg was particularly excited to see how mobile money and social media were driving commerce in the region and creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and communities.
Mark Zuckerberg Meets with Kenyan Developers and Entrepreneurs
One of Zuckerberg’s first stops on the trip was the iHub, an Innovation hub and hacker space started in March 2010 by TED fellow and entrepreneur, Eric Hersman. Some of the developers and entrepreneurs he met were:
- Edna Kwinga (Chief Human Resource Officer) and Marie Amuti (UX designer) of Twiga Foods, a mobile based-business-to-business supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Eric Thimba and Porgie Gachui, co-founders of Mookh, a digital payments start-up; and
- Wandia Gichuru (CEO) and Makena Mutwiri (Head of Marketing) of Vivo Active Wear, a women’s clothes store that does most of its business via Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Transactions are then conducted using mobile money.
Mark Zuckerberg also spent some time hanging out with developers in The Community Space. He marveled over the ingenuity of BRCK, an American-owned, Kenya-based startup that built a rugged, self-powered, mobile Wi-Fi device which connects people and things to the internet in areas of the world with poor infrastructure.
Zuckerberg Announces His Kenya Visit on Facebook
Shortly after his arrival in Nairobi, he wrote on Facebook:
“Just landed in Nairobi! I’m here to meet with entrepreneurs and developers, and to learn about mobile money – where Kenya is the world leader. I’m starting at a place called iHub, where entrepreneurs can build and prototype their ideas. Two of the engineers I met — Fausto and Mark — designed a system to help people use mobile payments to buy small amounts of cooking gas, which is a lot safer and better for the environment than charcoal or kerosene. It’s inspiring to see how engineers here are using mobile money to build businesses and help their community".
Mark Zuckerberg later went on to post:
“I had lunch in Nairobi with Joseph Mucheru, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Information and Communications. We talked about internet access and his ambitious plans for connecting everyone in Kenya. We ate at MAMA Oliech Restaurant. — a local place everyone recommended. One of my favorite parts of traveling to a new country is trying the food. I enjoyed ugali and a whole fried tilapia for the first time and loved them both!"
So there you’ve got it. What do you think about Mark Zuckerberg visiting (East) Africa for the first time? For me, I am quite excited because I think it augurs good things for the (East) African tech and social media space. I’m keeping my eyes wide open!
Until the next time,
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