Facebook has opened its first African office in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. The new office will be headed by Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, who previously worked at international ad agency Ogilvy and before that at Nike and the South African Tourism board. Ntshingila-Njeke takes up her new position in September.
Facebook’s active user population in Africa has grown 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September of last year. It’ll come as no surprise that more than 80% of these people access Facebook from mobile phones, after all, Africa isn’t just mobile first, it’s often mobile only.
“We are inspired by the incredible ways people and businesses in Africa use Facebook to connect,” says says Nicola Mendelsohn, VP for EMEA at Facebook. “This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions. In Q1 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada. But we’re just getting started.”
Mendelsohn says mobile “is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen,” adding that the new office is a “significant milestone for Facebook” and its teams that want to partner with businesses all over Africa.
“Africa is important to Facebook, and this office is a key part of our strategy to expand our investment and presence across 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,” Mendelsohn says.
“We are delighted we have a strong leadership team in place on the continent led by Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, our new head of Africa. Nunu will join our team in September of this year and work with businesses and agencies across the region,” Mendelsohn explains.
Facebook says it will initially focus on growing its business in anchor countries in the major regions of sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya in East Africa, Nigeria in West Africa, and South Africa in Southern Africa. Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
The company plans to partner with “governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localised solutions to advertisers and users continent-wide” and will continue to focus on “tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in the mobile-first, mobile-only African environment”.