Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Twitter opens first Africa office in Ghana

Twitter’s preference for Ghana could be viewed as a searing slapback for Nigeria’s large and fast growing tech environment.

• April 12, 2021
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey

Social media company, Twitter, has announced that it would be opening its offices in Ghana, the first of its kind in Africa, thus sidestepping Nigeria which holds a sizable chunk of the continent’s social media engagers.

CEO Jack Dorsey made the announcement on Monday in a tweet post. 

“Today, in line with our growth strategy, we’re excited to announce that we are now actively building a team in Ghana. To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent,” the social media company wrote in its blog. 

The blog post describes Ghana as a “champion for democracy”, as the neighbouring country supports free speech and online freedom. It also noted Ghana’s plans to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area which falls in line with Twitter’s goal to be present in West Africa and eventually across the continent. 

The post also highlighted the importance in  investing in local communities and support from society, noting its partnerships with Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Afrochella in Ghana, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) in Nigeria, and The HackLab Foundation in Ghana.

Twitter’s preference for Ghana as its first base in Africa could be viewed as a searing slapback on the country’s large and fast growing tech environment warming up to even bigger growth, albeit under a political regime that is becoming hostile to free speech, tech innovations and free market.

In January, Statista reported that Ghana registered approximately eight million active users on Twitter. In 2021, NOIPolls pegged twitter users in Nigeria at 39.6 million users, making up 20 per cent of the country’s 200 million people. 

Though freedom of expression is constitutionally protected by section 39 (1) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution, the media tends to be controlled and censored by the Federal Government.

At the height of the #ENDSARS protests last October government agents clamped down on protesters, forcing uproar from the bar association and other public figures.

The National Broadcasting Commission also repeatedly hounded broadcasters who covered the protest and slammed hefty fines on “erring” media firms.

Adamu Garba, a supporter of the government also instituted a lawsuit against Twitter over alleged sponsorship of the protests across the country. He later withdrew the feckless suit.

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