Tapping from Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria’s ‘Silicon Valley’
The visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria, especially to the country’s ‘Silicon Valley’ is seen as the tonic needed for the growth of apps and software innovations, cum economy. ADEYEMI ADEPETUN writes…
Against several bad press about Nigeria, especially around corruption and insecurity of lives and property, world’s number five richest man, Mark Zuckerberg, defied these odds and visited the country. In fact, twice within a week.
Adjudged to be worth over $56 billion, Zuckerberg, who was born on May 14, 1984 at White Plains, New York, United States of America, was in Nigeria to have a firsthand experience of the revolution currently changing the technology space in the country, cum Africa, especially among Nigerian youths.
Though he arrived virtually unannounced, except to some few privileged Nigerians on August 30 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, he went straight to Yaba to visit the Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub), Nigeria’s ‘Silicon Valley’ and met with technology startups and young computer code warriors.
For emphasis, the CC-Hub is a private initiative centre where software application developers are trained and their ideas are nurtured over a period of time to address key societal issues.
At the CC-Hub, established in 2011, Zuckerberg, who was on a mission to encourage technology startups and offer assistance, based on requirements, was however, marveled at the high level of technology skills displayed by young Nigerian software developers.
Indeed, this might not have been a coincidence that Nigeria is among the leading mobile countries in the world, and with larger percentage of the about 18 million Facebook users in the country accessing that platform via their mobile devices.
This development further emphasized the fact that Nigeria is not just a consumer of technology, but has become, over the last few years, a country where its youthful population have begun to use technology to create solutions to problems in their society, and Zuckerberg’s arrival is a further recognition of that fact.
On his visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some Nigerian ministers, the Facebook founder also used the occasion to attend the Aso Villa Demo Day in Abuja, a presidential initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation through the use of new and emerging technologies.
At the CC-Hub in Lagos, Zuckerberg, clad in a simple T-shirt and jean trouser, with a pair of canvass shoes to match, where he met with technology startups and software developers, said he specifically visited Nigeria to meet with them and to share in their views about various software apps they have developed to address immediate and long term challenges in the country.
He urged them to make mistakes, and bounce back from them to keep learning and keep growing. He also said that there was something in Lagos, Nigeria, an energy that gets things done, that the entire continent should emulate.
“My visit to Nigeria was primarily based on meeting with the technology startups, having heard so much about their zeal for fantastic apps development,” Zuckerberg said.
According to him, Facebook’s focus is on entrepreneurship and development, stressing that about 18 million Nigerians are on Facebook, “we want to help invest in connectivity. We are at the beginning of this journey to empower people.
“We are proud of working with developers in getting free cloud infrastructure in helping them develop their content. I look forward in doing more investment. Facebook is about equipping entrepreneurs, building software that gives teachers experience to teach,” he stated.
To Zuckerberg, who was also seen walking freely on the streets of Yaba and jogging on the Ikoyi/Lekki Cable Bridge, without security personnel during the visit as part of his familiarisation with the Lagos environment, said for Internet to spread in any community, there is need to build infrastructure, providing affordable network and making sure people understand the need for it.
According to him, Facebook sees Nigerian entertainment industry (Nollywood) as a big content creation platform stating that it is one of the best resources in the world, which is like a national pride promoting its culture across the world.
Exploring The Opportunities Facebook Can Offer
Zuckerberg, whose trip to Nigeria was facilitated by Facebook’s Director of Global Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong, hinged the sustainability of the platform on being focused and learning new skills, stressing that the best organizations in the world stayed focused on learning.
Advise To Government
In Abuja, Zuckerberg, alongside the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya and President Buhari and VP Osinbajo, commended all the participants at the Aso Villa Demo Day for their display of technology solutions.
Zuckerberg said his visit was inspired by the need to see what young Nigerians have done in terms of app development and use of technology.
He told President Buhari that he was in the country to promote the penetration of fast and cheap Internet connectivity that would help people create online businesses and reduce poverty.
Buhari, who commended the simplicity of Zuckerberg, thanked him for sharing his wealth of knowledge with Nigerian youths, and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo congratulated all the participants, saying they are all winners. While lauding the country’s youth for their innovativeness, creativity, drive and entrepreneurial spirit, the Vice President said there is so much hope in what the young generation can do.
He also hinted that the federal government is currently exploring ways to cooperate with Facebook in the next few months.
Impact Of Visit On Nigerian Youths
Speaking to The Guardian, the President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, said Zuckerberg’s coming was not coincidental, stressing that it has been long overdue, but that his visit was well planned and expected.
Teniola, an engineer, said his coming would energise, encourage, incentivize and impact Nigeria’s youthful population to stick to their respective dreams, knowing fully well that like Mark Zuckerberg, they too can realize it.
He said Zuckerberg’s mission was to further populate the Facebook population from Nigeria’s perspective with different disruptive approach. “I am sure that Zuckerberg won’t be long before he comes back to Nigeria, because he was overwhelmed by the talent he met on ground in the country.”
For the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, Zuckerberg’s coming to Nigeria was a blessing to the country.
According to him, coming to Nigeria first before Kenya, showed that Nigeria’s Africa’s technology hub.
“So, there is need to latch on this opportunity this has brought on Nigeria by ensuring there is affordable and ubiquitous Internet in Nigeria. This will create more technopreneurs for the country”, he stated.
Ogunbanjo said with Nigeria’s population, with larger percentage of youths, who are now vast in developing several applications, “what is needed is that freedom and an enabling environment to grow. I bet you more Zuckerbergs’ would emerge from here.”
In a telephone chat with The Guardian, from his base in London, a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, urged Nigeria to capitalize on the recent fame brought to it by the visit of Zuckerberg.
Aluko noted that the good thing about Nigeria in spite of her contradictions and political problems is that, some of its people are very resourceful, resilient, brilliant and crafty. It’s virtually and practically impossible for global investors to ignore Nigeria’s robust friendly and profitable business environment.
“The visit of Zuckerberg should ginger up other potential investors around the world to come to Nigeria to test market their products, or possibly establish their company’s corporate headquarters in Nigeria,” he stated
According to him, Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria is truly inspirational, motivational and graciously instructive, it will enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship and business practices amongst the emerging young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
He said the Facebook founder’s simplicity; sense of humor, business made easy approach and humanitarian gesture or humanism will inspire and motivate millions of young Nigerians.
One of the developers at CC-Hub, who simply put his name as Pekun, said Zuckerberg’s visit was a morale booster for developers in the country.
“Seeing him live was something else. You know, a young guy, said to be worth over $50 billion just come to Nigeria’s ‘Silicon Valley’, this will continue to resonate in our memory for years to come and it will inspire us to do something big.
“The fact is we’ve got talent, all we need is room and a relaxed environment to do stuffs, I mean great stuffs. They world would soon hear from Nigeria….that I am very sure”, he stated.
Pekun advised government to create more opportunities for ICT and innovation to grow, stressing that knowledge economy is gradually becoming the mainstay of major economies across the globe and not oil.
Pleased with the visit of Zuckerberg to Nigeria, technology industry stakeholders have called on government to provide adequate support for technology startups in the country.
They said government must see the visit of Zuckerberg as a wake-up call to empower technology start-ups, whom they said, needed funding to improve on their technology skills in apps development.
They also called on Nigerians to give priority to locally developed apps and patronise them in order to encourage apps developers who struggle all day long to develop viable apps, but receive little or no patronage from Nigerians and businesses operating in Nigeria.
During the visit, Zuckerberg assured Nigerian technology startups and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, of Facebook’s support that will enhance easy access and connectivity to the Internet.
Nigerian Digital Space And Mark Zuckerberg’s Visit…The Potentialities
By Daniel Anazia
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) no doubt is a prerequisite for developing country’s economy. Technology has made life so easy and created a level playing field, such that people sit in the comfort of their homes and offices, transact business and create wealth through connectivity.
The ability of any developing country to thrive in global economy depends on its ICT objectives, policies and the ability to properly implement such policies. The implementation of ICT policies in developing countries such as Nigeria, has reached the business life of the people. As such, the advent of the new information technologies has opened many doors for socio-economic and political development.
However, it must be noted that ICT does not develop in isolation rather it develops in accordance with the industrial environment it encounters, if not, the impact of such ICT policies will be inconsequential to the nation’s economy.
Studies have shown that most developing economies especially Nigeria are yet to fully embrace the application of ICT in socio-economic and political life. Most companies have IT departments with the task of disseminating information either electronically via company websites or via print.
According to a data by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), 83.3 million Nigerians have access to Internet as at February 2015. The data revealed that there was an increase of 1,316,176 Internet users on both the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks in February.
The data revealed that 82,046,638 users were recorded on the networks as at January 2015. It also showed that of the 83,362,814 Internet users as at February, 83,209,380 were on GSM networks, while 153,434 users were on the CDMA networks. Based on this development, technology has been integrated into the everyday life of an average Nigerian; be it youth, professionals or business executives.
Studies show that Nigerian youths have a higher usage percentage of IT products than the adults. Today, these young use Internet facilities, computers, IT-advanced phones among other IT instruments more frequently than the adults do. This can be attributed to the fact that IT facilities have been integrated into the educational system.
Also of concern is the increase in the rate of cyber-crimes in the country either through fake promos, emails, and social media among. These are done to dupe hardworking citizens of their precious savings.
As more young Nigerians embrace digital opportunities, they look to tech organisations like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the government to help them grow. This is because the activities of these institutions have big impacts on the framework and operating structures guiding the use of the Web.
The Interactions, The Dividends
It is hoped that the visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria will help open more information technology frontiers that will help boost the economy especially in this period of economic recession.
Zuckerberg during his interaction with software developers and ICT entrepreneurs at the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba, Lagos, listened to and took ideas on how Facebook can better support technology development and entrepreneurship across Africa, and one of the dividends of that interaction was a pledge to use Nigerian languages in offering services on Facebook.
“I feel there is great energy here in Lagos. I have been going around the world, to different cities, and we have been doing town-hall meetings and we have been sitting down with people on Facebook communities, hearing from them about our user services and we can do better. Here in Lagos, I want to not just sit down with members of this community, but also sit down with developers and entrepreneurs. The reason for that is I feel there is great energy here and I think the world needs to see that,” he said.
According to Zuckerberg, Nigeria’s economy is in transition from a resource-based economy to an entrepreneurial and knowledge-based market, adding that Nigeria, as largest market in Africa, possesses ‘great entrepreneurial opportunities’. He stressed that investors, because of wrong perception, downplayed the nation’s potential in entrepreneurship.
“Here in Lagos, and across the continent, things are changing really quickly. I mean the economy is shifting from a resource-based economy to entrepreneurial and knowledge-based economy. And you guys (Nigerian entrepreneurs) are the ones who will bring that change. Not only are we making this change in Lagos, Nigeria, but we are shaping the continent and influencing how things are going to work across the world for the next generation. I am glad we support Hausa, and we are planning on supporting more languages soon.
“That is the story that is under-appreciated in a lot of places around the world. I think people and investors don’t appreciate the amount of energy here (Nigeria) and what entrepreneurial spirit is like here. I want to have a conversation and talk about technical questions on how to build knowledge-based business and entrepreneurship,” he said.
Sharing the story of a Blessing Obueh, a young Nigerian engineer trained at the Facebook Foundation, Zuckerberg described her as the perfect example of ‘Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit’, saying that Blessing never gave up after her application to be part of a group of Information Technology (IT) engineers to train at the Facebook Foundation.
“She showed up at the training, despite that her application was unsuccessful. She pleaded for a chance and we accepted. Now, Blessing is working in a multinational engineering firm,” Zuckerberg said.
At a Q&A session with some developers in Lagos, which was part of a developer workshop to help Nigerian engineers build applications to reach local and international audiences, Facebook Director of Global Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong, explained that he was really struck by the energy of the tech scene in Nigeria and by how many people were building.
He said: “As someone with strong links to Nigeria, I have been trying to expose Mark to this ecosystem for a while so I am very excited for him to be able to come here and meet some of Nigeria’s top entrepreneurs and developers today.”
A Trip To Andela, Express Wi-Fi And Afrinolly
For Director, Andela Lagos, Seni Sulyman: “We are excited and honoured to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos. His visit reinforced not only his support of Andela’s mission, but his belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa.
“Andela has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high. Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level,” he said.
At Express WiFi, Zuckerberg particularly commended the resilience of the founder, Rosemary Njokwu, saying that she already had a business before she started selling Express Wi-Fi, but she told me she now has 3,000 customers and makes much more money from Express Wi-Fi, adding that she is a great example of how local entrepreneurs spread internet access around the world.
While at Afrinolly, the founder/CEO of Afrinolly, Chike Maduegbuna gave Zuckerberg an overview of how films are made and distributed in Nigeria, with Afrinolly’s mobile app being one of the most popular ways that Nigerians watch African music videos, films, comedy and trailers.
At the end of the tour Zuckerberg dropped in on a special content creators workshop, which was being held with some of Nigeria’s biggest stars, designed to help them master Facebook Live and Instagram stories. Stars in attendance included Basket Mouth, Kunle Afolayan, Rita Dominic, Richard Mofe-Damijo, DJCuppy, Chidinma Ekile, Yemi Alade, Stephanie Linus, and Adebola Williams among others.
For many young Nigerians, Zuckerberg’s visit is coming at the right time as a lot of youngsters in the country were greatly motivated by the visit.
According to Chukwuebuka Ezeigwe, a Facebook user and follower of Zuckerberg, the visit, “brought the feeling that someone that matters out there knows that we are here! I can imagine how big your shoes have become to step into but we will all continue to work to secure the future together for generations to come… Thank you,’ he stated.
Get Smart: How Scammers Operate On The Internet
By Henry Ekemezie and Temitope Makinde
While some brilliant and resourceful youths are looking to creating mobile applications to create jobs for the teeming younger generation, others are busy perpetuating fraud on the Internet. In this era of Internet banking it is so easy to transfer money all over the world in several minutes. But it has also increased the number and types of financial scams and frauds. The 419 scam is one of the most common types of financial fraud. The scam in which the fraudster goes to the extent of promising you a big sum of money, but to get it you would have to share your personal account info or to pay some certain amount of money before you claim your prize. If victim pays, the fraudster disappears. The number “419” refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.
This is another type of scam, which will request for your own personal data and also some money, because money is needed, for example, to get some registration form. The form usually doesn’t even exist. A trustful organization like visa centers and legal companies will never ask money for any registration form.
This kind of scam forces the victim to provide personal info such as numbers of account or passwords. To make the trick effective, they often create some websites, which are look-a-likes of some legitimate companies, and a bulk email is sent to random persons with an invitation to follow the link and provide some personal info. Your identity and funds would be stolen through this method and the fraudster will end up hacking into your bank account.
These scammers use social networks to scout for single men and women. They make them believe that they fall in love. They can use cheap gifts, poetry (stolen from the web, but they will pretend they wrote it by themselves) etc. And once a person is hypnotized they will find a way to reach his or her wallet.
Usually these scammers use fake pictures stolen from social media. So the people on the pictures are also offended as well as the people who get scammed
This is one of the most common frauds in the country. You will receive a message stating that you have won a prize or international lottery. To claim your “prize” you are supposed to connect with the “official agent”. If you respond any way to the e-mail the scammers start to contact you and to dig your personal info or banking details. And that’s not all; the scam of buying cars or some other valuable things can also be added to this chapter. The scammer advertises some product to the victim then fixes a low price so that they would want to buy it. He proposes a good price plus a sum for transportation. Then you pay for shipping and they send you a fake paycheck. Regardless of what the worldwide scammers tells you, be careful. Especially when you are transferring some money. Remember that you probably won`t get it back.
So never make transactions you are not familiar with or send money to suspicious people whom you have never seen.