Facebook opens offices in South Africa

In a first for the continent, Facebook has opened an office in Johannesburg. The social networking platform is already a central part of people’s lives in Africa, it says. And with more than a billion people in Africa, “we want to do more to help people and businesses connect”.

Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke
Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke is Facebook’s new Head of Africa at the Johannesburg based office. (Image: APO)

Priya Pitamber

Social media network Facebook has opened its first offices on the continent. Based in Johannesburg’s Melrose Arch, the lady at the helm is Ogilvy veteran Nunu Ntshingila, the global company’s new head of Africa.https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/tourism-south-africa/geography

Africa is vital

Facebook has asserted the company’s commitment to help businesses connect with people to grow locally and regionally.

“Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across EMEA,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, the vice-president of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). “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.”

She said the group was inspired by the ways people and business in Africa used the platform. “This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions,” Mendelsohn stated. “In Q1 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started.”

Growth for businesses

The platform’s active user population in Africa grew 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014. More than 80% of these people access Facebook from their cellphones.

“Mobile is not a trend,” Mendelsohn added. “It’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be truer 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.”

The new offices will also support customers from the continent. Ari Kesisoglu, the regional director of Middle East and Africa (MEA) at Facebook, said the company was committed to creating tailored solutions to people and businesses specifically in Africa.

“Our priority for the next few months is to continue the work we are already doing with some clients in this region,” Kesisoglu added. “We will work closer with businesses and agencies to understand the challenges, so that we can build solutions that help grow their business.

“People increasingly want to be connected to the world around them and desire information about new services and products to better their lives. At the same time, businesses need stronger, more flexible and less fragmented ways of reaching people in sub-Saharan Africa. Our mission will be to connect brands and consumers in Africa, creating value for all parties in the process.”

Nunu Ntshingila

Mendelsohn said they were delighted to have Ntshingila on board.

“Ntshingila will join our team in September and work with businesses and agencies across the region,” she said.

Ntshingila is a graduate of the University of Swaziland and Morgan State University in the US, and has had senior positions at Nike and the South African Tourism board. She also helped with the expansion of advertising agency Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa, which covers about 27 countries.

Let’s get social

The online social networking site, Facebook, launched in February 2004. It was created by Harvard University students Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.

The company’s current headquarters are in Menlo Park, California.

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