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Social network launches initiative to drive innovation and economic impact

22 million Nigerians use Facebook. That's twice the population of the Republic of Benin.

This move from Facebook is clearly a statement of, "not every time just post picture and like photo, sometimes, drive innovation, skills development, and economic impact."

To execute this, they’ll be incorporating a series of partnerships — the high profile kind, training programs, and a hub to serve as a centre for learning and skills development.

The long-term goals of this initiative is to help develop and nurture communities, whether its a small business, the tech and start-up ecosystem, or creatives and the youth.

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Ebele Okobi, Facebook’s Public Policy Director in Africa, said:

“In Nigeria, more than 22 million people use Facebook every month and 87% of SMEs say that when they hire, digital skills are more important than where an applicant went to school. This demonstrates that the power of digital skills to aid economic growth and development has never been more important.”

“At Facebook, our mission is clear: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Our investments and commitments announced in Lagos today further reflect our intent to partner with Nigeria’s policy makers and its vibrant tech and entrepreneurial eco-system to create economic opportunity and independence in Nigeria and across Africa.’’

NG_HUB from Facebook

Facebook has partnered with the best guys in the Nigerian incubator game, CC Hub, to open a community Hub space in Lagos. NG_HUB from Facebook will be a creative space, diverse by design, to connect developers, start-ups and the community to learn and exchange ideas.

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There’ll also be a startup incubator program, and bespoke trainings, and guest speakers, and a dedicated event space. All of this, just so this place can attract talent and drive innovation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.

It’s not a Lagos thing.

Facebook will also be supporting some tech hubs outside Lagos. For the culture. This will also be like outposts for communities outside Lagos, so the Facebook love is on everyone’s wall (Hello, Jaywon and Essence).

Emeka Afigbo, Head of Platform Partnerships, Middle East & Africa, had this to say about the birth of NG_HUB:

“Nigeria is producing a new generation of exciting start-ups that have incredible potential. We understand the important role Facebook plays here in Nigeria with developers and start-ups and are invested in helping these communities build for the next billion. One of our key passions at Facebook is nurturing and helping to develop the tech and start-up community, and I’m excited to announce our partnership with the Nigerian tech hub ecosystem especially the NG_HUB space, here in Lagos.”

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Facebook Nigeria Skills Programmes

Because Facebook is about digital skills that doesn’t just end in code, they want to work with every stakeholder to foster economic growth. So they’ll be launching a series of learning-based programmes facilitated by local training partners. These programmes have been designed to provide skills that make participants more employable and foster growth for small businesses.

The goal is to train and empower 50,000 people, from students to entrepreneurs, through a series of scaled digital skills trainings.

The training programmes will include:

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It looks like Facebook did their homework.

And it’s clearly not a lip service thing. Facebook undertook an ‘Economic Impact Study’ to help them understand how small businesses and consumers in Nigeria use Facebook. Also, it was to under the effectiveness of social media as a growth tool. Nearly 1 in 2 small businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform, and 62% said they have been able to use Facebook to help find employees for their business.

Over half (58%) of small businesses on the platform say they have been able to hire more employees’ due to growth since joining Facebook.

Awesome.

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