Facebook, the online social networking service, has launched its first office in Africa in a bid to expand its 120 million African users.
With a population of more than one billion people, the African continent holds some of the most promising prospects for growth and expansion.
“This is one of the places where our next billion users are coming from", Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's Vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Bloomberg news.
The office will be in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will focus on growing markets within the continent including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, and Ghana.
It will concentrate on sales and helping advertisers create ads appealing to African customers.
“We are committed to creating solutions tailored to people, businesses, and specifically for African markets,” said Ari Kesisoglu, Regional Director for Facebook in the Middle East and Africa.
According to Bloomberg also, Nunu Ntshingila, the chairman of Ogilvy South Africa, will be leading the new ‘African Sales Team’ in Johannesburg.
The social network has already been seeking to expand its presence on the continent for some time.
One of its largest initiatives is the internet.org program, a partnership between Facebook and six other companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia, and Qualcomm) that aimed to bring affordable Internet access to developing countries and facilitate access to basic information and online services.
Facebook has also been working on improving Internet connectivity to even the most remote locations. In March, reports showed that Facebook was testing solar-powered drones to down laser-guided Internet signals.
It is thought that the goal of Facebook’s expansion and internet improvement efforts in Africa is increased advertising revenue, although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that advertising to internet.org users was “not an immediate priority”.