Emma Okonji

With 8.6 million people in Nigeria currently using Facebook on mobile every day, out of 95 million sub-Saharan African people that are on Facebook on monthly basis, coupled with the fast-growing mobile technology sector in Nigeria and its vibrant film and music industries that are driven by social media technology, Nigeria, no doubt, has developed to become the technology hub for Africa.

Chief Product Officer at Facebook, Mr. Chris Cox, made the remark when he visited Nigeria this week.
Cox, who was in Nigeria to speak at the Social Media Week in Lagos, about the future of media, and to meet with Nigerian entrepreneurs and content creators, said the level of engagement with social media tools to tell the Nigerian story and the African story in the most unique way, using digital video, has placed Nigeria far above other African countries in digital technology.

His statement confirmed that of the Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who noted during his first visit to Nigeria in September last year, that Nigerian youth would not just shape the country but will shape the whole world, based on their creativity and innovativeness in making the best use of technology tools.

Cox who also visited Nigeria for the first time, is billed to visit Ghana and Senegal, after leaving Nigeria.
According to him, “Facebook is a great place for businesses to reach their customers and market their products and services. We are listening to our community of partners, developers, advertisers and content creators to understand what we can build to best serve their needs.”

During his talk at Social Media Week, Cox highlighted Nigeria’s status as a hub for innovation and creativity because of its fast-growing mobile technology sector and its vibrant film and music industries. He focused on how the world is moving to digital video, with formats such as virtual reality, live video broadcast and 360 video giving people new ways to tell their stories.

“Stories matter, whether it is the stories of our lives or the stories of Africa’s growth,” says Cox. “We want Nigeria’s storytellers, such as the musicians, the filmmakers, the novelists, to take their stories to the rest of the world. The explosion in mobile video and live video, gives people a new way to share their story and perspective with the globe, and this is happening on Facebook.”

Cox talked about how creators like Femi Kuti are using Facebook to bring fans into their lives and extend their presence beyond the stage and recorded media. He also discussed how innovators like Afrinolly – the creative hub where technology meets art, are using virtual reality and 360-degree video to create exciting and compelling new storytelling formats.

Making some fresh announcements about the ease of using social media, Cox said Facebook has started accepting locally issued Nigerian Naira cards from new advertisers for payments on its ads platform, based on request by Nigerians, when Zuckerberg visited Nigeria in September last year.

Cox also announced that starting from March 8 this year, Facebook will kick off ‘Boost Your Business’, a series of free training sessions designed to help thousands of Nigerian small business owners understand how to leverage digital platforms for growth. The sessions will be facilitated by trainers led by She Leads Africa in key cities including Lagos, Kaduna, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan.