Facebook CEO visits Kenya

After an inspiring two-day visit to Nigeria, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is now in Nairobi, Kenya. He landed in Kenya yesterday and was particularly excited to see how mobile money and social media are driving commerce in the region and creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and communities.

While in the East African country, Zuckerberg’s first stop has been iHub, an Innovation hub and hacker space which was established in March 2010 by TED fellow and entrepreneur, Eric Hersman.

He also met developers and entrepreneurs like Edna Kwinga, Chief Human Resource Officer and Marie Amuti, UX designer at Twiga Foods, a mobile based-business-to-business supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables; Eric Thimba and Porgie Gachui who are co-founders of Mookh, a digital payments start-up . Others were Wandia Gichuru and Makena Mutwiri of Vivo Active Wear, an online women’s clothes store which does most of its business via Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. The transactions are conducted with mobile money.

He also hopes to find out how Facebook can better support small businesses, developers and content creators across growing markets.

Zuckerberg also spent some time hanging out with developers in The Community Space and commended the ingenuity of BRCK, an American-owned, Kenya-based start-up that built a rugged, self-powered, mobile WiFi device which connects people and things to the internet in areas of the world with poor infrastructure.

He posted on his Facebook page on Thursday: “Just landed in Nairobi! I’m here to meet with entrepreneurs and developers, and to learn about mobile money – where Kenya is the world leader” says Zuckerberg. “I’m starting at a place called iHub, where entrepreneurs can build and prototype their ideas. Two of the engineers I met, Fausto and Mark, designed a system to help people use mobile payments to buy small amounts of cooking gas, which is a lot safer and better for the environment than charcoal or kerosene. It’s inspiring to see how engineers here are using mobile money to build businesses and help their community”.

Zuckerberg later posted: “I had lunch in Nairobi with Joseph Mucheru, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Information and Communications. We talked about internet access and his ambitious plans for connecting everyone in Kenya.”


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