Facebook is eyeing the future and as such will be launching its first office in Africa, it has been announced. The office will be in a Johannesburg suburb and will be run by Nunu Ntshingila. So far Facebook has about 120 million users in Africa, a small number compared to the more than a billion people who call it home. The social network’s Internet.org and Facebook Lite will play a part in getting users on board.
Developing nations present a big opportunity for Facebook as it seeks to get more users on board, but limited Internet access — both due to availability and due to costs — as well as lower-end smartphones presents some difficulties. That’s where Internet.org, in part, comes in.
Internet.org is a collective effort between some companies, including Facebook, to get individuals in developing countries a measure of online access. The service will be offered in conjunction with local mobile providers, and will lend access to Facebook among some other select sites.
Facebook has already recently rehashed its Facebook Lite app, which takes up very limited space on a device and uses little data during use. Said Facebook’s VP for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn, “This is one of the places where our next billion users are coming from. It would be a massive missed opportunity. Africa matters.”