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Why Twitter is opening African office in Ghana

By Dennis Erezi
13 April 2021   |   11:04 am
Twitter on Monday announced that it is opening its first African office in Ghana. “Twitter is now present on the continent," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Monday. "Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo." Twitter said its decision to open an office in Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations, internet access, online and…

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 05, 2018 CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. – Twitter chief Jack Dorsey backed on January 13, 2021, its ban of US President Donald Trump, but said it sets a “dangerous” precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on the platform (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

Twitter on Monday announced that it is opening its first African office in Ghana.

“Twitter is now present on the continent,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Monday. “Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo.”

Twitter said its decision to open an office in Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations, internet access, online and offline free speech policy.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate,” Twitter said in a statement.

“Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”

Twitter-Ghana relationship
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed delight at Twitter’s decision to open its African headquarters in the country.

“The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news,” Akufo-Addo tweeted. “Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”

The Ghanian president disclosed that he met with Dorsey virtually on April 7, where they both reached an agreement on Twitter’s activity in Ghana.

Akufo-Addo said the contract “is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.

“These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”

What Africa stands to gain
Twitter’s physical presence in Africa will certainly engage many African bright minds in the tech space.

Africa has more than 600 tech hubs and rising, ranging from incubators and accelerators to co-working sites, according to a publication by the Africa Report. A joint report by Briter Bridges and AfriLabs identifies 643 tech hubs on the African continent.

While the startup space is about the survival of the fittest, it is also one where the community is powerful.

Already, Twitter said it is actively building a team in Ghana “to be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the continent.”

Earlier in April, Twitter announced job openings for a variety of positions – product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications. Twitter employees occupying these positions are expected to work remotely before the social media platform opens its physical office in Ghana.

‘But, why Ghana and not Nigeria?’
There have been varying views about Twitter’s choice of Ghana as its ‘African home’ and not Nigeria where tech space looks ripe for the company’s presence in Africa.

Global digital insight providers, Datareportal.com said there were 85.49 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2020. The number of internet users in Nigeria increased by 2.2 million (+2.6%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in Nigeria stood at 42% in January 2020.

The same report by Data Reportal puts the figure of internet users in Ghana at 14.76 million. The number of internet users in Ghana increased by 1.0 million (+7.5%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in Ghana stood at 48% in January 2020.

While the figures support the claims of the ‘protesters’, many Nigerians believe Twitter’s choice of Ghana over Nigeria was because of government policies that allegedly stifle business growth.