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Facebook opens first African office in Johannesburg

Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, Head of Africa, Facebook

Facebook announced this week that it’s opening its first office in Africa and has hired Ogilvy and Nike veteran, Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke to head it.  Based in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, the company hopes to build on 20% growth experienced between September of 2014 and June of 2015.  

The social networking giant already has 120 Million users in Africa, 80% of those users, accessing facebook.com from their mobile phones.  In the first quarter of this year 52% of the companies revenue came from outside the US and Canada, signaling an interest by businesses in emerging economies to use facebook as an advertising platform and business tool.

“Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be more true in Africa – where so many people are mobile-only. This new office is a significant milestone for Facebook and our teams want to partner with businesses across the continent,” says Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President for EMEA.

Facebook will initially focus on growing its business in anchor countries in the major regions of Sub Saharan Africa:  Kenya (East Africa), Nigeria (West Africa), and South Africa (Southern Africa). Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

Facebook will partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to deliver localized solutions to advertisers and users, continent-wide. It will continue to focus on tailoring solutions, metrics and ad formats to the needs of customers and advertisers in the mobile-first, mobile-only African environment.

Nunu Ntshingila, the new Head of Africa will join the company in September of this year. She helped drive the creation of Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa, which spans some 27 countries. A graduate of the University of Swaziland and Morgan State University in the US, Ntshingila has also held senior positions at Nike and the South African Tourism board.

Perhaps most importantly, Facebook realizes that a one size fits all approach will not necessarily help grow their brand around the world.  It will be interesting to see what features and tweaks are made for the African continent or if this is simply a sales front to target African Businesses who pay to use the platform.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) (http://www.facebook.com)

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