BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

Mark Zuckerberg Came To Nigeria And Nigeria Was So Very Here For It

The Facebook founder made a surprise visit to the West African country and it was lit.

Last updated on September 2, 2016, at 7:01 a.m. ET

Posted on September 1, 2016, at 4:29 p.m. ET

On his first ever trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg paid a surprise visit to Nigeria this week.

These are @Andela Fellows, In a couple of years, they'll be on every news channel in the world. Famz them now!!! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Facebook is actually more popular than the broader internet in Nigeria. That and the country's tech start-ups powering through serious obstacles in recent years made the visit a no-brainer.

Zuckerberg's visit to Nigeria is a signal to the world that Africa tech matters. #ZuckinLagos

And the jaunt to went down a storm. "The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

His trip was kept a tightly-guarded secret right until Zuckerberg arrived for the whirlwind two-day tour. On his first stop, to Co-creation Hub in Yaba, Nigeria's answer to Silicon Valley, many didn't even know the CEO was coming.

Facebook: zuck

β€œIt was inspirational for people who’ve been working in tech solutions for years,” CcHub co-founder Femi Longe told BuzzFeed News by phone from Lagos, who said the visit would help open doors for the sector.

Nigerians were amazed to see the CEO strolling casually strolling around Lagos.

$54 bn walking anyhow in Yaba. Meanwhile one ogre will be blowing siren ween ween ween cuz he's Local Govt Chairman https://t.co/iE7bLagO8S

Twitter: @damocleansword
ADVERTISEMENT

It was hard not to notice how chill he was in a country where big man swagger isn't in short supply.

"I am Mark"....not Ogbuefi, Dr, Rev, Apostle, Alhaji, Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg III, JP. This man needs a chieftancy title before leaving

Just look at him happily jogging along, sans enormous entourage.

Facebook: zuck

His main misstep came when he referred to "Nollywood" like it's an actual place in Nigeria instead of an ~aesthetic~.

So someone actually took Mark somewhere and called it Nollywood and now he thinks it's real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ πŸ’• #TeamNigeria

Twitter: @ronkelawal

And of course he waded into #JollofWars. (Oba Zuckerberg has officially declared Nigeria the winner.)

Instagram: @ratrace_rm

Zuckerberg reportedly also tried other local dishes like pounded yam and snail.

ADVERTISEMENT

Breaking #JollofWars news: Apparently Mark Zuckerberg, in Lagos, just praised Nigerian jollof. Will Ghana respond? https://t.co/F7qgeswPmj

Twitter: @siddhmi

Naija jollof 1 - 0 Rest of West Africa https://t.co/2qmIHgygNF

Twitter: @bespokenerd

Mark Zuckerberg after he tasted #Nigerian Jollof.

Twitter: @MutomboDaPoet

Sadly he didn't visit the infamously named "Facebook" nursery school in downtown Lagos.

BREAKING NEWS!!!! Facebook Owner Mark Zuckerberg Is In Nigeria and Plans To Visit His School In Ojodu, Lagos

Twitter: @officialdaddymo

(It's possible the school was meant to be called "face your book," a saying every Nigerian schoolchild is familiar with.)

ADVERTISEMENT

It was too good an opportunity not to bring up Nigerian Parents' views on Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg is in Nigeria. He invented Facebook. Naija Parents: And so bloody what, will you face your book

Twitter: @officialdaddymo

The tech giant has made no secrets about aggressively expanding into the continent, although not without controversy.

Facebook: zuck

But plans to launch a satellite that will provide internet access to remote parts of the continent have been delayed after the launch failed, Zuckerberg wrote Thursday.

And a plan to roll out Free Basics - which provides free access to Facebook and a handful of other sites online - has been criticised in some quarters. The scheme was scrapped in India earlier this year after government officials and activists argued it violated the right to free open internet access.

Next stop on his tour is Kenya, where home-grown tech innovation is exploding: two thirds of all retail payments are now made using mobile money in the east African nation. Go Africa!

Facebook: zuck

CORRECTION

The article has been updated to reflect that two-thirds of Kenya's retail payments by volume come from mobile money. A previous version of the article incorrectly said more than half of Kenya’s GDP came from mobile money.

ADVERTISEMENT