On December 8, Facebook Developer Circles hosted a Summit for developers and startup tech founders at Landmark Event Centre, VI, Lagos, Nigeria. There were free buses to convey people to and from the venue, how nice?
I (Donaldson Okoye) arrived at the venue by 9:45am. Upon arrival, everyone was welcomed with breakfast before the event kicked-off at 10:30am (30 minutes after scheduled time).
Facebook Developer Circles' Lagos Lead—Innocent Amadi—gave the welcome address and introduced the first speaker, Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Head of Developers Program at Facebook.
Chukwuemeka's speech was titled “What is the Next Big Thing?”.
He gave some insights into financial services and the future of technology in Africa. In his words, “Africa has over 122 million active users of mobile financial services and the future of technology in the continent is Deep Technology”.
Emeka also shared some tips on how to bolster the growth of a tech ecosystem. They are: innovate, empower, and advocate.
First, Innovate. He advised that developers and founders alike, need to start looking for local problems that affect everyday living. Rather than copying ideas from the western world.
He gave an example of Olho do Dono---a startup that helps to weigh a cow by taking a snapshot of the cow while the cow is running.
Secondly, empower. He argued that startups need to empower communities. According to him, Facebook PyTorch is making 5.92 billion language translations per day. He said, "A thriving technology ecosystem is good for Africa, good for the World and good for Facebook".
Tying point one and two together, he said “to innovate means to create value” and ecosystem builders would need to leverage that value to empower others in the community.
Lastly, Advocate. We need to advocate with our voice and engage regulators.
He ended his speech by answering his previously asked question “What is the next big thing?”—Community.
Up next on stage was popular Nigerian Developer Advocate, Prosper Otemuyiwa.
Prosper spoke on bridging the gap between developers and the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria.
He argued that although there are a lot of developer communities in Nigeria, many developers are disconnected from the start-up ecosystem.
Startups would need to get more involved with the developer ecosystem to effectively tackle the problem of insufficient technical talent in the country, he submitted.
Prosper admonished startups and founders to attend developer events as that increases their chances of finding the developer talents to work with. Also, he stressed the need for more Andela-type startups that train developers thereby increasing the pool of skilled talent in the country.
To wrap up his talk, he encouraged both startups and developers to involve themselves with “Open source-ry”, as it presents a great way to be visible while building a global portfolio.
After Prosper’s talk, there was a panel session. And then a breakout session for Developers and Startups.
In the startup track, Proud Dzambukira—Strategic Partner for Facebook Products Middle East And Africa—was the first to speak FB Products for SSA. He spoke on how Facebook has been creating platforms for businesses to grow like APIs for Messenger, so businesses can now embed a chat app to their core IT platform without having to build or buy a customer relationship management tool. He also mentioned that Founders could take advantage of the FBStart Accelerator program to enable them to grow and scale with Facebook’s resources.
Then, Chisom Obi-Okoye who works with the marketing team at Facebook spoke on how Facebook Pages help to strategically position businesses online.
Following Chisom was Funmi Badejo—account manager for Instagram UK and Ireland—who spoke on how Instagram could help grow businesses.
Then Emmanuel Quartey of Paystack came up and spoke on how Paystack leverage on Customer Success for growth. He said one of the things that have helped Paystack get to where they are today, is their superseding concern for customers (merchants) growth. He hinted on Paystack’s resolve to launch in more African countries next year, spreading the goodness of seamless payments across the continent.
Afterwards, some attending startups were invited for office hours with the Facebook team.
The programme came to a close with group photographs and an opportunity to meet with the guests.
Photos Credit: Mavin Ogah.