Zuck in Nigeria

It has been trending on twitter, it is all over the place, #zuckinlagos and every single developer in Nigeria would love to see the 5th richest man in the world. Actually it is the first time the Chairman one of the world’s most valuable companies is visiting “Sub-Saharan Africa” like he said and CNNAfrica posted on twitter that led to a viral reaction by Nigerians.

It was a hot trending topic for CNNAfrica not to mention Nigeria as the country of Mark’s visitation, but a general word for a geographical location on the map of Africa, which does not connote anywhere specific. This led to a huge negative reactions by Nigerians in Nigeria, and diaspora pointing the fact that the name of the country would have been mentioned instead of the area. This reaction was major, based on the premise of Nigeria being tagged as a “bad” country. Also in times of giving negative reports, there is not mistake in mentioning the particular town or state within Nigeria.

Moving on to the essence of this article. Mark Zuckerberg, The CEO of Facebook (a friend will say, the largest country in the world which has all the presidents inside of it and citizens of the whole world). Is currently in Nigeria, but I have been thinking and asking myself the question, Why? Was it because of the donation made by Chan Zuckerberg Initiave? Or there are some other reasons for this ? Is it just a stop by visit, because he was coming from Rome after visiting the Bishop of Rome, Pope of the Roman Catholic church

His first stop was Cchub — Co-Creation Hub, the country’s most exciting and known tech incubation hub, ran by Bosun Tijani. Moving from startup to startup analyzing the business cases of these startups. But of a sense I ask the question again. Is it a casual tour and he decided to tour by?

This has led to two premise which I will explicitly demisify:

Mark is a very smart guy, in my view and from deliberations he seems to have seen a lot of potentials because according to reports Nigeria is Facebook’s Largest Market. He believes there is fertile soil in the country and he believes he could plant some seeds and grow something that will benefit Nigerians as a whole. This opens doors for hundreds of startups who stands the chance to pitch to him and probably get funding and building something bigger and better than their initial thought. Which will lead to economic growth, employment, deeper technology integration, and improved life of living. It will also boost competition among existing startups to innovative more creatively because a creativity guru is in the block. This will jettison lots of newer services, products and delivery to customers and businesses in different sectors of the economy. All these are the positive impacts that will emanate from his involvement in the Nigerian technology eco-system. Apart from also exposing better ways businesses could use his platform Facebook. It will also expose our local engineers to connect with and gain knowledge from experienced engineers that have built huge scale able systems over the past years.

In a bid to look at the Nigerian tech eco-system, there are very few tech companies in Nigeria that are really names we can reckon with. Jobberman, Pulse, Cheki all initial ideas by local entrepreneurs, are now acquired by foreign companies. Does this not lead to modern day colonization? These foreigners are coming again in a different way to take charge of our local businesses which is something we should still at least control over above every other thing. This will lead to a drop in the concept of “entrepreneurship” as a whole in the country, and the mindsets of the upcoming ones will be impacted negatively. Students in tertiary institutions will hold the notion that “whatever I do will be taken over by a ‘Mark’ or an ‘Ellon’”. This in turn will not grow the economy in the long run, because, these businesses are ran by foreigners who in the actual sense care less about your country but how they can ship more money their headquarters in different parts of the world; Dublin, San Francisco, Zurich, Berlin and more. This in the long run will reduce the value of local currency and organic growth of Indigenous businesses and reduce the chances of local entrepreneurs to compete and grow. Countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia did not grow like this, they collect knowledge and evolve within themselves.

It will also allow them to understand our working systems and build technologies that could even reduce employment in the long run and faster than we would have evolved to build newer jobs (Think about what cloud computing has done to network engineers).

Let us try not to be too excited about his visit and not make the right decisions. It is good he came. But let us do our best, to make the best out of it. For our future and the future of our children and our nation. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

So what do you think about Mark’s visit ?