Twitter on Monday announced that it is opening its first African office in Ghana.
“Twitter is now present on the continent,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Monday. “Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo.”
Twitter said its decision to open an office in Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations, access to the internet, online and offline free speech policy.
“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,” Twitter said in a statement.
“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.”
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed delight at Twitter’s decision to open its African headquarters in the country.
“The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news,” Akufo-Addo tweeted. “Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”
The Ghanian president announced that he met with Dorsey virtually on April 7, where they both reached an agreement on Twitter’s activity in Ghana.
Akufo-Addo said the contract “is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.
“These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”
What Africa stands to gain
Twitter’s physical presence in Africa has the potential to engage many African bright minds in the tech space.
Africa has more than 600 tech hubs and rising, ranging from incubators and accelerators to co-working sites. While the startup is about the survival of the fittest, it is also one where the community is powerful.
A joint report by Briter Bridges and AfriLabs identifies 643 tech hubs on the African continent.
Already, Twitter said it is now actively building a team in Ghana “to be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the continent.”
The social media company later posted job openings for a variety of positions ranging from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications. Twitter’s employees to occupy these positions remotely before Twitter opens its physical office in Ghana.
‘But, why Ghana and not Nigeria?’
There have been varying views about Twitter’s choice of Ghana as its ‘African home’ and not Nigeria where tech space looks ripe for the company’s presence in Africa.
Global digital insight providers, Datareportal.com said there were 85.49 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2020. The number of internet users in Nigeria increased by 2.2 million (+2.6%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in Nigeria stood at 42% in January 2020.
The same report by Data Reportal puts the figure of internet users in Ghana at 14.76 million. The number of internet users in Ghana increased by 1.0 million (+7.5%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in Ghana stood at 48% in January 2020.
While the figures support the claims of the ‘protesters’, many Nigerians believe Twitter’s choice of Ghana over Nigeria was because of government policies that allegedly stifle business growth.
Why did Twitter choose Ghana as HQ?
1. Champion for democracy,
2. Supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet,
3. Ghana’s hosting The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Tweet was signed by a Nigerian working in Twitter
— Kalu Aja (@FinPlanKaluAja1) April 12, 2021
Twitter setting up its African HQ in Ghana is a clear message to the idiots in power in Nigeria.
— Henry Shield (@henryshield) April 13, 2021
Ghana 🇬🇭 has made a lot of progress in the last decade and there is so much Nigeria 🇳🇬 can learn from them.
First of, peace and stability helps. We need to significantly deal with insecurity in Nigeria.
Then, the constant policy summersault and irrational regulations must end.
— Dr. Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) April 12, 2021
“Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with…efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”
As promised #AfCFTA = Jobs for Ghanaians. More to come! 🇬🇭 https://t.co/tMky8uO2ke
— Alan John Kyerematen (@AlanKyerematen) April 12, 2021
Bitter? What I’ve seen is us making fun of our Government/leaders and highlighting the good things Ghana has done to deserve such wins and asking why our Government can’t replicate the same things. Where are you seeing this bitterness you talk about please? https://t.co/xpf6ZQt125
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) April 13, 2021
1. Twitter choosing Ghana as African Headquarter is no rocket science. Did you honestly think Jack wud establish his HQ in Nigeria after Adamu Garba’s threats, Boko Haram & Fulani herders attacks?
The Nigerian government is very notorious with censorship & stifling free speech.
— NEFERTITI (@firstladyship) April 12, 2021
I hope you have created 100 jobs in the last 5 years before saying Twitter going to Ghana 🇬🇭 instead of Nigeria 🇳🇬 is not a big deal. If you haven’t created jobs, please don’t embarrass yourself.
— Dr. Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) April 13, 2021