Leading global social media giant, Facebook on Wednesday, announced a new nationwide initiative in Nigeria to further cement its commitment and investment in the country, and across the continent.
Before now, there had been rising agitation by industry players in Nigeria on lack of investment footprints of major ICT conglomerates doing business in Nigeria including Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
At the height of the agitations that trended on Facebook earlier in the week after a seminar powered by the trio for officials of the Ministry of Communications and allied departments and agencies including NCC, NigComSat, Galaxy Backbone and other, the Director of Public Affiars at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo averred in a post that in no distant time, Facebook will launch a world class ICT hub in Lagos.
Facebook in a statement said the emerging hub will incorporate series of high profile partnerships, training programmes and a physical space that will serve as a center for learning and skills development.
It also noted that “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”.
Giving more insight to the deal, Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa disclosed that “In Nigeria, more than 22 million people use Facebook every month and 87% of SMEs say that when they hire, digital skills are more important than where an applicant went to school. This demonstrates that the power of digital skills to aid economic growth and development has never been more important”.
“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 today 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.’’
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.
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.
Commenting on the announcement of NG_HUB in partnership with CC Hub, and Facebook’s further support of local hubs across Nigeria, Emeka Afigbo, Head of Platform Partnerships, Middle East & Africa 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.”
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.