Facebook focused on connecting Africa and building coding community

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Cape Town - The world’s biggest website and social network - Facebook - has a vision for a completely connected Africa, with a strong developer community. 

The platform’s vision was in line with its theme at the AfricaCom telecoms and technology conference, which concluded in Cape Town on Thursday. 

Echoing the sentiments in an interview with Fin24, Proud Dzambukira, Strategic Product Partner for Platform Partnerships at Facebook said that the company saw three main pillars of connectivity in Africa.

“We see infrastructure, access to network and affordability for people, as being key to a more connected continent,” Dzambukira told Fin24. 

Facebook’s initiative to connect developing nations across the world - Free Basics - was launched in 2015 and provides an internet-based open-platform for developers and publishers.

Free Basics is live in 26 countries with 42 operators across Africa, and in South Africa is accessed via a mobile device with a Cell C SIM card.

Another initiative by the social network, Express Wi-Fi, is live in three African countries: Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.

With a focus on coding on the continent, Dzambukira said that Facebook’s Developer Circles (DC) initiative has had a major impact, particularly for developers. 

“The developer community has played a large role in Facebook's success to date, and is one we’re committed to investing in and growing, especially across Africa. We see these groups as key in helping to drive forward Africa’s innovation in tech,” he said. 

There are currently four DCs in South Africa; Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

READ: Vodacom zero-rates data charges for student websites

“We have identified community leaders who love technology and who also have good social organising skills to form these communities of fellow developers, who are all volunteers, working toward a greater good,” Dzambukira told Fin24. 

He added that the communities had been so successful that larger companies had been working together with developers, creating open source platforms, where coders could share their work. 

“The people who are part of the communities are passionate and willing to put in the time and effort toward building these coding communities and educating people about the opportunities afforded by coding,” he said.

Facebook’s Developer Circles can be accessed here.

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