Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the “future of the world” will be built on the African continent.
Zuckerberg made the statement during his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, where he visited Lagos, Nigeria.
A small group of media were invited to a live stream of the Nigerian event in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“The thing that is striking [about Nigeria] is the entrepreneurial energy. I think when you’re trying to build something, what matters the most is who wants it the most. This is where the future is going to be built,” Zuckerberg said from Lagos.
He said that once the world woke up to the entrepreneurial energy coming from Africa, the continent would begin to change the world.
“You feel that here, as soon as you get off the plane and start talking to people, you feel that passion and entrepreneurial energy,” Zuckerberg added.
His surprise visit to Nigeria, Facebook’s largest African market with over 18m users, was to learn more about the country with a focus around entrepreneurship and Web development.
“If you want to connect everyone in the world, then making sure everyone has access to the Internet is a really important thing,” he said.
During his discussion with Nigerian media, Zuckerberg made mention of Facebook’s key projects aimed at connecting developing communities to the internet.
One such project, Free Basics, aimed at providing people with access to basic services on their mobile phones in areas where Internet access may not be as accessible as in more developed areas, is currently being brought to South Africans by Cell C.
“Whether you care about connecting people, friends and family or helping people startup businesses, the internet is one of the most fundamental parts of infrastructure that I think needs to exist,” Zuckerberg said.
“Growing small businesses is an important part of communities. So far, 60m businesses have pages have been created on Facebook. We are giving people the same tools that only big companies would have had access to,” he added.