Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey on Monday announced Twitter presence in Africa. The bird app, which has been increasingly embraced by Africans was operating outside the continent.
To change that and increase its growth potential in Africa in line with its mission to increase the number of people who feel comfortable participating in public conversation, the social media platform is setting up its first African office.
?? Twitter is now present on the continent.
— jack (@jack) April 12, 2021
“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,” Twitter announced in a blog post.
However, Ghana as the choice destination for Twitter’s first office in Africa has not gone down well with Nigerians, who are top users of the app in the continent.
Nigeria's population approx. 200million
Ghana's population approx. 32million
Nigeria Social network users approx 33million,(Ghana's population)
twitter just set up presence in Ghana.@jack
what was your yardstick for this decision?
So we know what to fix
— Humanity Pilot? (@blackboriginal) April 12, 2021
Others believe that the present Nigerian administration is to blame for Twitter’s decision, given its handling of tech developments in Nigeria.
Your government kick out Crypotcurrency trading without understanding how it works.
Your government is actively fighting Fintech companies.
If you were Jack, would you bring a Twitter HQ to Lagos?
Technophobic APC would finally end it using the docile Lagos State Gov.
— FS Yusuf (@FS_Yusuf_) April 12, 2021
Twitter said Ghana was chosen because of her democratic tendencies, support for free speech and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” it said.
Although Twitter mentioned AfCTA as part of the reasons it chose Ghana, it has more to do with the country with more freedom of expression and tech viability.
Nigerian government has been severally caught in attempts to muzzle free speech. The notorious social media bill, which was introduced in a bid to curb dissent voices on across social media platforms got global attention, thus sending the intolerant message that has put Nigeria on the spotlight on freedom of expression.
Government’s stance on free speech was further exposed during the End SARS protest, which Dorsey supported, as security agents and other government’s institutions clampdown on protesters. A former presidential aspirant under the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Adamu Garba, filed a suit against Dorsey for using Twitter to incite insurrection in Nigeria. Although the suit has been withdrawn, it is believed to one of the reasons Twitter does not consider Nigeria a suitable destination for office.
Nigerians said that given the government’s record in handling dissenting voices, it wouldn’t think twice to shut down Twitter’s office whenever it feels the social media platform is being used to attack the government, if it is situated in Nigeria.
Government’s recent decision to prohibit financial institutions from cryptocurrency transactions, is also fingered to be among the reasons while Dorsey, a famous bitcoin fan, chose to ignore Nigeria.
Apparently, Dorsey had been in love with Ghana. In 2019, when he visited Africa, the tech guru who also doubles as the CEO of Square, a payment platform also founded by him, hinted on staying in Africa, Ghana precisely for at least three months. He has touted the West African even before the many actions of the Nigerian government made this decision such an easy one.
On his way out he had tweeted: “Sad to be leaving the continent for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020.”
Although COVID-19 pandemic altered his plan to live in the continent, it didn’t stop his tech development plan for the continent, but it would not start in country that shows apathy for whatever he believes in.