Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Visits Nairobi To Experience Kenya’s Technology-Driven Revolution
As I suspected he would, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in Nairobi yesterday after making his maiden trip to Lagos in Nigeria a few days ago. I had posited that he would have to come to Kenya since no technology trip to Africa would be complete without paying homage to the Silicon Savannah!
Somewhat poignantly during his visit, Facebook lost their Internet.org satellite yesterday that was due to launch tomorrow with SpaceX when the rocket exploded whilst being tested on the launch pad. The satellite was part of an ambitious plan by Facebook to bring affordable and fast Internet access to millions of unconnected users in Africa.
Apparently this is Mark’s first trip to Kenya and his first stop was ‘ground zero’ of Silicon Savannah – the iHub. Mark came here to better understand how Kenya’s technology ecosystem is shaping up with a focus on mobile money (read: M-Pesa), developers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and content creators from a Facebook perspective.
During his time in Nairobi today, Mark met the following Developers at the iHub learn more about what mobile entrepreneurs are doing with the latest technology, and find out how Facebook can better support small businesses, developers and content creators across growing markets. During his visit to the iHub, he met start-ups like Twiga Foods, Mookh, BRCK and Vivo Active Wear who actively use Facebook and WhatsApp to grow their businesses.
To everyones surprise, and delight (me included!), Mark later had lunch with Kenya’s ICT Ministry Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru at the now (truly?) famous Mama Oliech restaurant where they feasted on the local favourite – Ugali and Samaki (Maize meal and tilapia fish). Personally, this blew me away since its shows that Mark has no hang ups about going truly local on his global travels!
To make matters even more interesting, the latest updates on Mark’s Facebook page show that he had time to go for a safari in Naivasha and took in all the sights and sounds of the beauty and majesty that is one of Kenya’s many tourism offerings. Indeed, he must have had a truly packed schedule for just one day but clearly he wants to know anything and everything about the African marketplace where Facebook is thriving with over 120 million users, as of this writing.
Mark Zuckerberg is a true inspiration. Humble and knows exactly what he wants. He wants to assist small biz and innovators. He could have easily gotten the Kenyan president and all those office holders to greet him at the airport and take over his itinerary. Instead, he did a surprise visit and went straight to where it matters most. Though I do wish he would have done a talk similar to the one he had in Rome.