Facebook's first community hub in Afrika

Facebook is set to launch it's first ever community hub on the continent in Nigeria. Named the NG_Hub, it will be launched on 22 May 2018.

In a statement announcing the NG_Hub, Facebook indicated that the launch signals their commitment and seriousness in investigating in partnerships with various communities across Nigeria.

The NG_Hub, according to the social media platform, will include workspaces, meeting rooms, a games and chill out room and an event space. It will also be the focal point for a number of training programmes aimed at attracting the best talent and driving innovation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.

Facebook has been courting Afrikan developers and partners over the past few years as can be witnessed by how many of them not only attended the company's annual F8 conference but also got a mention on the main stage of the conference. Beyond developer community building, the company has recently also been involved in collaborating on a youth online safety and training programme in South Africa. Known as Ilizwe Lam, it aims to train 1,000 South African youths aged between 13 to 18 years old across high schools and youth groups nationwide in understanding how they can stay safe online, provide practical tips and guides, whilst creating a number of youth ambassadors to provide peer-to-peer support.

However, one of Facebook's partnerships in Nigeria has recently been criticized by some sections of the media. Earlier in 2018, Facebook announced that it will be helping Nigeria with its upcoming 2019 presidential elections. This announcement came after a team from Facebook, led by Ebele Okobi (Facebook's Public Policy Director for Afrika) visited and met with Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to explore various ways in which they could work together on voter education and engaging citizens ahead of the 2019 elections. Unfortunately for Facebook, the announcement was made just as the Cambridge Analytica saga was unfolding and thus raised concerns on what Facebook's involvement will mean for Nigeria's 2019 elections.

The NG_Hub, however, will possibly play a role in the wider technology and startup ecosystem in Nigeria.

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