, NEW YORK, United States, Jun 30 – Facebook announced Monday it had opened its first African office in Johannesburg as part of its efforts “to help people and businesses connect” on the continent.
The office will be headed by Nunu Ntshingila, a former executive at the advertising agency Ogilvy.
“This office will support the significant growth in businesses and people using Facebook,” said a statement from the world’s biggest social network, which has some 1.4 billion active users worldwide including 120 million in Africa.
“We are inspired by the incredible ways people and businesses in Africa use Facebook to connect,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, regional vice president for Facebook.
“Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across (the region). Facebook is already a central part of people’s lives in Africa, and with more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to help people and businesses connect.”
Facebook said more than 80 percent of people in African access the social network from their mobile phones.
“Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen,” Mendelsohn said.
“This couldn’t be more true in Africa – where so many people are mobile-only. This new office is a significant milestone for Facebook and our teams want to partner with businesses across the continent.”
Facebook will initially focus on in sub-Saharan countries including Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and will also offer support for Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
“Facebook will partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localized solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide,” the statement said.