Facebook to Open Second African Office in Lagos

Five years after opening its first office on the continent, Facebook is expanding its investment portfolio by opening its second office in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ngwa Emmanuel
Sep 20, 2020 - 3 Minutes
Image Credit: Reuters / Afolabi Sotunde
Image Credit: Reuters / Afolabi Sotunde

After opening its first African office in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015 , Facebook is now set to open its second African office in Lagos in the second half of 2021.

It's a move that comes four years after the social media giant's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, visited Nigeria in what was his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

Mark Zuckerberg in Lagos, 2016. Image Credit: Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg in Lagos, 2016. Image Credit: Facebook

Facebook says the Lagos office will house a cross-section of Facebook teams from sales and policy to communications. This Lagos office will also be the first office on the continent with a team of engineers. 

The opening of this office in Lagos is the company's latest commitment to Nigeria - Africa's largest Internet market. In 2018, Facebook opened a hub space in partnership with Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria's leading startup accelerator. 

Why Nigeria?

Data from 2016 shows that more people use Facebook in Nigeria than anywhere else in Africa. Nigeria also boasts of a suite of high-ranking executives at Facebook's global offices. But the driving factors for this move extend well beyond a team of Nigerians at Facebook pulling strings.

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Truth is, Facebook is moving closer to where the talent is. And last year, Nigeria ranked among the fastest-growing developer communities in Africa. 

Facebook is not the only company moving closer to local talent and key markets.

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Over the last decade, both Microsoft and Google have grown their local presence in Nigeria. Microsoft's moves, in the past, have included a $ 100 million commitment to build software development centers in Africa and employ 500 African developers by 2035.

It's not just about talent

Global tech giants are now looking beyond their immediate markets to focus on a largely unexploited market: Africa. A hands-on presence in Nigeria and across Africa is, therefore, a clever move from tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

What's more, Africa's population, the youngest in the world, is expected to triple by 2100 as the rest of the world shrinks. And these giants know well that Nigeria will play a major role in that growth, especially because it's the world's second-most populous country, ahead of China.

Africa's adoption of digital innovations (Mobile Money for instance), has witnessed a boost from the increasing availability of smartphones. More than ever before, smartphones have become more affordable for more people in Africa, thanks in part, to companies like Chinese-owned Transsion

While there are still issues regarding Internet access and speed on the continent, there are good signs Africa is making some progress

What's more, tech giants like Facebook and Google are not leaving this to chance. Both companies are developing projects to circle Africa with huge undersea cables that will deliver Internet connectivity and get millions of Africans online.

Five years after opening its first office on the continent, Facebook is expanding its investment portfolio by supporting local talent. The Lagos office will help further expand on this portfolio for the tech giant. 

After South Africa and Nigeria, who's next?

Facebook Expansion