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Twitter Snubs Nigeria, Opens First African Office in Ghana

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Twitter has snubbed Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, and has picked its West African neighbours, Ghana, as the preferred location for its first African office.

This was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the social media giant. The opening of its office in Ghana is part of efforts to make inroads in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

In the statement, the company noted, “We must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent.”

The move has come as a surprise to many as they had pegged South Africa or Nigeria as the first choice but according to Twitter, the decision to kick off its African expansion with Ghana stems from the country’s dealings with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and its openness towards the internet.

“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.

“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,” the statement read.

Twitter’s move was welcomed in Ghana by the country’s president, Mr Nana Akufo-Addo, who tweeted, “This is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana,” adding that its presence was crucial for the development of Ghana’s tech sector.

Twitter trails its rival, Facebook Incorporated, which opened its first African office in Johannesburg in 2015 and plans to open a second in Lagos this year. The firm struck a deal with African telecom majors in 2020 to build one of the world’s largest subsea cable networks.

Africa is under-tapped terrain for technology firms, with internet use per population at around 39 per cent against a world average of 59 per cent according to web analytics firm StatCounter, but that number grows every year thanks to expanding mobile broadband networks and affordable phones.

StatCounter figures show that around 11.8 per cent have Twitter.

The news comes almost eighteen months after Twitter Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jack Dorsey with his Twitter team visited the continent for the first time in November 2019.

During his tour on the continent, he visited Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa, where he met with different industry leaders and tech stakeholders on matters concerning Twitter and bitcoin.

There are expectations that social media will grow on the continent in the next couple of years.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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