Blue map with Africa in Red

Facebook Opens First African Office

Although there is increasing talk about the decline of Facebook usage, and it’s becoming more common to hear of people deleting or deactivating their Facebook accounts, the social media network continues to expand and grow into new markets. In June 2015, Facebook opened its first African office located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Continue reading below to find out more. 

Facebook has opened its first office in Africa to further the company’s commitment to help businesses connect with people and grow locally and regionally. Based in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, Facebook’s newest business office will be headed by Ogilvy veteran, Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, the company’s new Head of Africa.

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Facebook in Africa

Facebook is already an important part of how people and businesses connect in Africa. This office will support the significant growth in businesses and people using Facebook. The social media network’s active user population in Africa has grown 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014. More than 80% of Facebook users in Africa access the network using their mobile phones.

“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. In Q1 [Quarter 1] 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” says Nicola Mendelsohn, VP Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Facebook.

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg made his first trip to Africa—to Nigeria and Kenya to be precise. Find out more about what he did while he was in Kenya in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Visits Kenya.

Facebook mobile app and other apps on a smartphone

“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.”

Helping Businesses of All Sizes Grow

“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 for Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

A mobile phone user with an African woman holding a baby in the background

Kesisoglu went on to say, “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.”

Mendelsohn adds, “We are delighted we have a strong leadership team in place on the continent led by Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, our new Head of Africa. Nunu will join our team in September of this year and work with businesses and agencies across the region.” Nunu helped drive the creation of Ogilvy’s network in sub-Saharan Africa, which spans some 27 countries. A graduate of the University of Swaziland and Morgan State University in the US, Ntshingila-Njeke has also held senior positions at Nike and the South African Tourism Board.

Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, Head of Africa, Facebook
Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, Head of Africa, Facebook

Growth Markets

Facebook will initially 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). Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

Have you ever been to Gaborone, Botswana? Wonder what there is to do there? Read: Botswana: A Guide to Gaborone, the Capital of Botswana.

Facebook will partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localized solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide. It will continue to focus on tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in the mobile-first, mobile-only African environment.

Photo Credits: huffingtonpost.com;  telegraph.co.uk