Facebook opened its first office in Africa to “help businesses connect with people and grow locally and regionally”, and said that activity is happening overwhelmingly via mobile devices.
The social media giant’s active user population in Africa grew by 20 per cent to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014, with over 80 per cent of users accessing Facebook from mobile phones.
It plans to initially focus on growing its business in countries in the major regions of Sub Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, helping businesses build solutions to grow, while connecting brands with consumers.
Facebook will also partner with governments, operators and agencies to deliver localised services to advertisers and users and continue to focus on tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in Africa’s “mobile-first, mobile-only” environment.
“This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions. In Q1 2015, 52 per cent of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, VP, EMEA, Facebook.
Facebook’s office will be in Johannesburg and headed by ad agency Ogilvy veteran Nunu Ntshingila, the company’s new Africa head.
As part of its efforts to reach out to users in emerging markets, the company launched Facebook Lite last month. Its Internet.org initiative, which allows free access to more than two dozen websites, first launched in Zambia and is available in many African markets including Ghana and Tanzania.