Facebook to Boost Innovation, Economic Impact in Nigeria with Community Hub

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Emma Okonji

With a good record of 1.37 billion daily active users on the average worldwide and 7.2 million daily visitors from Nigeria, Facebook on Wednesday in Lagos, said it would launch its Nigeria initiative, designed to drive innovation, skills development and economic impact, through a Community Hub that it plans to locate in Lagos.

Facebook said the initiative would further cement its commitment and investment in the country, and across the continent.

In partnership with CC Hub, Facebook will be opening the doors to its first Community Hub space in the heart of Lagos, scheduled to open early next year.

‘NG_HUB from Facebook’ will be a multi-faceted creative space, which will connect and bring together developers, start-ups and the wider community to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas. The NG_HUB will also host a start-up incubator programme, as well as bespoke trainings, guest speakers and a dedicated event space, all aimed at attracting the best talent and driving innovation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.

According to Facebook, “This set of initiatives is aimed at helping to develop and nurture communities, including small businesses, the tech and start-up ecosystem, youths and creatives.”

Announcing the initiative at a press conference in Lagos, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa, Ebele Okobi, said the Nigerian initiative would demonstrate the power of digital skills to aid economic growth and development in the country.

“At Facebook, our mission is clear: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Our investments and commitments announced in Lagos, further reflect our intent to partner with Nigeria’s policy makers and its vibrant tech and entrepreneurial eco-system to create economic opportunity and independence in Nigeria and across Africa,’’ Okobi said.

“Additionally, across Nigeria, Facebook will be supporting a number of existing tech Hubs to serve the communities outside Lagos. The hubs will function as learning centres for local communities, providing multiple opportunities for training and access,” Okobi added.

Commenting on the announcement of NG_HUB in partnership with CC Hub, and Facebook’s further support of local hubs across Nigeria, Facebook Head of Platform Partnerships, Middle East and Africa, Emeka Afigbo, said: “Nigeria is producing a new generation of exciting start-ups that have incredible potential. We understand the important role Facebook plays here in Nigeria with developers and start-ups and are invested in helping these communities build for the next billion. One of our key passions at Facebook is nurturing and helping to develop the tech and start-up community, and I’m excited to announce our partnership with the Nigerian tech hub ecosystem especially the NG_HUB space, here in Lagos.”

Highlighting the Facebook Nigeria skills programmes, Afigbo said: “Facebook is committed to working with Nigerian small businesses, tech entrepreneurs and the next generation of leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for economic growth.

“Launching a series of learning-based programmes facilitated by local training partners, these have been designed to provide skills that lead to employment and to support the growth of small businesses. The goal is to train and support over 50,000 students, small businesses and creative entrepreneurs across the country through a series of scaled digital skills trainings, as well as long-term impact programmes.”

The training programmes will include Aspiring Entrepreneurs, which has to do with a four-week digital intensive programme for entrepreneurs across Nigeria that will be offered throughout the year in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu; Jobs for Youth, which has to do with coding for employment, a training programme to develop Nigeria’s next generation of coders, designed to upskill developers and prepare them for employment. Others include: Boost your Business, which is designed for small, medium sized businesses owners, teaching the fundamentals of digital marketing for business growth; and Creative Entrepreneurship Training, which has to do with specialised training designed specifically for creatives, including photographers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, bloggers and other creative content creators, among others.