Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari commended Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg during their impromptu one-on-one meeting at Aso Villa today, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina. SaharaReporters reported earlier that Mr. Zuckerberg was leaving Kenya, where he met with a number of tech start-ups and entrepreneurs, to return to Nigeria to meet with President Buhari.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s visits to Nigeria and Kenya mark his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. The continent of Africa features prominently in Facebook’s master global strategy which has unrolled Facebook zero that provides free access to select websites in certain African countries.
President Buhari told Mr. Zuckerberg that “I am impressed by your simplicity in sharing your knowledge and wealth with those with less income.”
He also noted that Mr. Zuckerberg’s simplicity “challenged the culture of lavish wealth display and impulsive spending that had become peculiar to Nigerians.” President Buhari added, “we are not used to seeing successful people jogging and sweating in the streets.”
Mr. Zuckerberg told President Buhari that “I was highly impressed by the talent of the youths in the Co-creation Hub in Yaba. I was blown away by their talent and the level of energy I saw,” according to Mr. Adesina’s statement.
During their conversation today, Mr. Zuckerberg stressed that he was in the country to promote faster and more inexpensive internet connectivity, wi-fi, and other tech innovations to “help people create online businesses and reduce poverty.”
This is now Mr. Zuckerberg’s second trip to Nigeria and follows his first one earlier this week.
Mr. Adesina's full statement can be read below:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT BUHARI COMMENDS ZUCKERBERG FOR INSPIRING NIGERIAN YOUTHS INTO ENTREPRENEURSHIP
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja commended the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of social networking website, Facebook, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg for sharing his wealth of knowledge with Nigerian youths, and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Receiving the internet entrepreneur in the State House, President Buhari said the various meetings held with Nigerian youths since his arrival were most timely as the country was already exploring opportunities to spur development through entrepreneurship.
``Nigeria has always been identified as a country with great potentials for growth, especially with our youthful population, but now we are moving beyond the potentials to reality.
``I am impressed by your simplicity in sharing your knowledge and wealth with those with less income,’’ the President said.
President Buhari noted that the simplicity and magnanimity of the entrepreneur, who is among the world’s richest men, had also challenged the culture of lavish wealth display and impulsive spending that had become peculiar to Nigerians.
``In our culture, we are not used to seeing successful people appear like you. We are not used to seeing successful people jogging and sweating on the streets.
``We are more used to seeing successful people in air-conditioned places. We are happy you are well-off and simple enough to always share,’’ he added.
In his remarks, Zuckerberg said he was impressed by the interest, energy and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by young Nigerians in all the ICT camps that he had visited.
``I was highly impressed by the talent of the youths in the Co-creation Hub in Yaba. I was blown away by their talent and the level of energy that I saw,’’ he said.
Zuckerberg said he was in the country to promote the penetration of “fast and cheap” internet connectivity, Express-wifi, that would help people create online businesses and reduce poverty.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
September 2, 2016