Why Twitter Chose Ghana Ahead of Nigeria to Set Up Africa Office
The choice of Ghana to site its first Africa office came to many Nigerians as a shock because Nigeria is seen as the tech hub of Africa, and with other tech giants such as Facebook, and Google already established in the country. However with the announcement made through a tweet by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey where he thanked the president of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo for his hospitality and also looking forward to a long lasting relationship between Ghana and Twitter, it became clear that Ghana is the choice. The tweet also included a link to a post on Twitter’s official blog written by Kayvon Beykpour, Product Lead at Twitter, and Uche Adegbite, Director, Product Management, Global Markets.
The blog post noted that Twitter’s mission is to serve the public conversation, and it’s essential, for the world and for Twitter, to increase the number of people who feel comfortable participating in it. “To do this, we need to make it easier for everyone to join in and provide more relevant experiences for people across the world”.
An excerpt from the blog reads: “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.”
According to the post, Twitter will be hiring across several teams including product, design, engineering, marketing and communications. Successful applicants will be onboarded remotely until there is an opportunity to open a physical office in Ghana.
When Jack Dorsey had his African tour in 2019, he visited Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia. For a lot of people this pointed at the possibility of a move into the continent. Now that the move is happening, one does wonder why Ghana was the choice of the countries visited.
Twitter’s blog post answers that question: “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.” There are also reports that Twitter management is not happy with the way the Nigerian government handled the #EndSars protests which was heavily supported by Twitter. Twitter sees Nigeria as restraining human rights and freedom of expression especially by the armed forces and the Police and other para-military agencies. Moreso, Twitter believes that young people face a lot of harassment by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.
On the business side, Twitter cites Ghana’s appointment to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a key indicator of the country’s importance in establishing Twitter’s presence across Africa.
Regarding their move into this new market, investing in these markets is key and Twitter has already had partnerships with several impactful African organisations including Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Afrochella in Ghana, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) in Nigeria, and The HackLab Foundation in Ghana. The company says it plans to “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.”
With Twitter on the continent, Africans can look forward to content and experiences more tailored to them. Twitter’s staff roles for the Ghana team can be found here.