Social media app Twitter on Monday announced that it is opening its headquarters and first office on the African continent in Ghana.
This announcement was made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a tweet on Monday.
This announcement came almost one year after Jack’s visit to the African continent.
In a blog post shared by Jack, Twitter noted that it had chosen Ghana as the location for its African headquarters as “Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate.”
The blog also pointed out that Ghana’s recent appointment as host of The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with its “overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”
The blog goes on, “Whenever we enter new markets, we work hard to ensure that we are not just investing in the talent that we hire, but also investing in local communities and the social fabric that supports them. We have already laid foundations through partnerships with Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Afrochella in Ghana, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) in Nigeria, and The HackLab Foundation in Ghana. As part of our long-term commitment to the region, we’ll continue to explore compelling ways we can use the positive power of Twitter to strengthen our communities through employee engagement, platform activation, and corporate giving.
We still have much to learn, but we are excited to listen, learn, and engage. Public conversation is essential to solving problems, building shared ideas, and pushing us all forward together. We can’t wait for the next step on that journey.”
How Opening A Twitter African Headquaters Helps Ghana
Replying to Jack’s tweet on the announcement, Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed his delight at Twitter’s decision to situate its African headquarters in Ghana.
He tweeted, “The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news. Gov’t and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country. 1/3 #TwitterInGhana #TwitterGhana“
Noting that he had held a virtual meeting with Jack Dorsey on 7th April 2021, Nana Akufo-Addo also noted that “this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the dev’t of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.2/3 #TwitterInGhana #TwitterGhana“
The Impact of this Move on the Africa Continent
Twitter’s move to establish an office in Africa holds a tremendous impact on the continent, especially in the areas of technological and financial growth. With a physical presence in Africa, Twitter has a huge potential to engage bright African minds, especially in tech.
With more than 600 tech hubs, incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces, African countries have built a tech community despite holdups and restrictions.
By establishing an African headquarters, Twitter would be creating job opportunities for young tech individuals across the continent, giving them access to first-hand experience working for a tech giant.
A physical location in Africa would also make Twitter a lot more immersed in Africa, its nations, tribes and cultures, helping it to drive more positive conversations about the continent.
Twitter also posted job openings for different positions in the company, and employees are to begin working remotely before Twitter opens its physical office in Ghana.
Africa remains an under-tapped economy for tech firms, with a 39% internet use per population, according to a report by StatCounter.
Why Ghana, not Nigeria?
Jack’s announcement on Twitter’s move to set up its headquarters in Africa in Ghana sparked reactions, particularly regarding the choice of an African nation.
For many Nigerians, choosing Ghana over the Giant of Africa and Africa’s big brother Nigeria was a slap on the face.
With what many consider to be a vibrant tech space, as well as a large population and its stance as Africa’s most populous nation, many would have expected Nigeria to be Jack’s first choice.
A report by Datareportal.com reported that as of January 2020, there were 85.49 million internet users in Nigeria. With an increased internet penetration of 42%, this marked a 2.2 million increase between 2019 and 2020.
In the same report, Data Reportal places the number of internet users in Ghana at 14.76 million. And an internet penetration of 48%, which marked a 1.0 million increase between 2019 and 2020.
Despite these large numbers, Twitter had passed over Nigeria, choosing Ghana as the location for its African headquarters.
Giving reason for this, Nigerians noted that the Nigerian government’s policies are actively killing the development of businesses in Nigeria, forcing international companies to move out and preventing others from opening branches in Nigeria.
Reacting to this announcement, Nigerians took to Twitter to share their views and disappointment. Some Nigerians even turned to humor, recounting attempts by Adamu Garba to sue Jack Dorsey following his support for the #EndSARS movement.