By Bukola Idowu
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa to get ideas on how Facebook can better support tech development and entrepreneurship across the continent.
Zuckerberg, who visited the Yaba Technology hub in Lagos, met with developers and partners, and also explored the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood.
The Facebook CEO, who is on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, said he would be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, to learn about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. “The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.
“The first place I got to visit was the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria,” he said.
One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria.
CcHub opened in 2011 and at the time didn’t even have an office. Five years later they fill three floors and the roof of a building. At CcHub people can learn how to code, developers can get help launching their first products, and find mentors and funding.
At CcHub, Zuckerberg met with developers like Temi Giwa, who runs a platform called Life Bank that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Life Bank saves lives by mobilising blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.
Zuckerberg also visited Andela, an engineering organisation that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership programme.
In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants. Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.