Facebook gathered over 400 developers, business owners and startups from across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at the maiden edition of its "Facebook iD8 Nairobi" conference.

The conference is part of the social networking company efforts to create opportunities for innovation, community building and education throughout Africa. "Facebook iD8 Nairobi", which held on November 22 at Trademark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, is still under the Facebook for Developers programmes, albeit a first-of-its-kind conference.

It created a space for developers and startups to showcase their talents and solutions, as well as to share their experience and challenges. Facebook also shared insights on new technologies and products developers and startups can experiment with.

Highlights from Facebook iD8 Nairobi

The conference started at 9 AM with registration and breakfast. It featured panel sessions, keynote speech from Emeka Afigbo, Facebook's Head of Developer Programmes, a career fair and the 2019 Facebook SSA Developer Circle Leads Summit.

We look forward to reconnecting with the ecosystem to share the latest technology, products and programme updates. Facebook iD8 is a two-way dialogue where we also have a chance to hear from our developer and startup community, about their experiences and roadblocks as well as provide an opportunity for members of our community to connect with others who share their challenges and aspirations.

Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Global Head of Developer Programmes
  • During his keynote speech, Emeka highlighted Facebook's partnership with Andela to train thousands of developers from its Developer Circles across 10 African countries and equip them with technical and non-technical skills in 2020. It will build on the success of the three-month training programme Facebook organised in partnership with Andela in Nigeria and Kenya this year.
  • A career fair aimed at connecting the top developers from Facebook and Andela's three-month training programme in Nigeria and Kenya with opportunities and potential employers.
  • The 2019 Facebook SSA Developer Circle Leads Summit brought together 60 Developer Circle leaders, who represented 45 circles in 17 countries across the continent.

Related: Facebook Developer Circle Lagos, led by Innocent Amadi, held F8 Developer Summit last year

According to Fatma Ali, a Lead for Facebook Developer Circle in Eldoret, a city in Kenya, Facebook Developer Circle has given her exposure and recognition in the developer ecosystem. Ali said: "This opportunity has enabled me to connect and get mentorship to build my career while equipping me with leadership skills to work with the developer community.

This experience has been enlightening and I am confident that I will have a successful career in technology

There were hands-on demonstrations and discussions with Facebook product experts, who provided guidance and help to unlock challenges developers face in their development process. 'Facebook iD8 Nairobi' also provided an opportunity for developers and startups to learn how technology, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, messaging and open source, can provide solutions for businesses in Africa.

My experience leading a Developer Circle in Cape town has enabled me to advocate for the inclusion of women in the developer community in Cape town with my circle having the highest female members in Africa. Through Facebook iD8, I have gained insights on how we as developers, male and female can seize opportunities and curb challenges in the developer community.

Sewagodimo Matlapeng a Developer Lead for a Facebook Developer Circle in Cape Town, South Africa.