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Why is Africa an important region in terms of the future growth of Facebook?

As the world grows from 7.4 Billion people to an expected 8.2 billion people in 2025, 40% of that growth will come from the Africa region. By 2025, 1 in 4 of the world’s, young, digitally active population will be in Africa.In addition, through our Developer Circles initiative, we have created a network of developers across the globe that is organised locally by community members. These developers meet online and offline to create solutions that cater to the needs of their communities. Developer Circles connects Developer Circle leaders to collaborate, learn, and code with other local developers. Across Africa, there are more than 74 000 Dev C members across 17 countries, representing a huge potential for us to tap into in terms of software development.  

Africa is important to Facebook. With more than a billion people there is strong business momentum and opportunity in many countries across the continent.

The failure rate of SMEs across the continent is quite high, what advice would you give to startups/SMEs to help them be more successful?

I don’t necessarily think of failure as a bad thing. Within Facebook, we have a growth mindset, which involves experimentation, taking risks, failing fast and learning from those failures. There is a need for startup’s to take advantage of resources and tools platforms such as Facebook offer to help them address unnecessary failures.

What are some of the tools that the Facebook platform offers businesses, particularly SMEs and startups, with regards to enhancing their digital marketing capabilities and sales?

Using our free business tools, companies can easily and quickly grow their business. For instance, using Messenger they can talk to a loyal customer or prospective customer, make suggestions, assist with sales and offer support – all in one continuous conversation. Furthermore, using WhatsApp they can access a simple and trusted way to connect with anyone in the world.

Can the business people behind SMEs and startups leverage these, if they do not have a technical/developer background or coding skills?

 By joining communities such as their local Facebook Dev C, people will be able to receive training for free on aspects such as programming in JavaScript, as well as around our offerings. Additionally, they will be able to tap into the expertise and skills of other community members as well as coders they can hire to capitalise on these tools.  

How does the calibre of developers in Africa stack up to their global counterparts?

Our local and regional coders are on a global level in terms of their talent, expertise, and experience. Programmers across Africa produce globally relevant and used products and apps available on our platform on a daily basis. These are used by our users all over the world and are highly rated.