The new ‘jollof wars’ and why Twitter chose Ghana over Nigeria for its first Africa base

Many Nigerians consider that Twitter’s resolution is a snub to the continent’s largest financial system, which is seeing speedy development and funding in its tech scene.

Twitter chief govt Jack Dorsey capped a whirlwind tour of Africa in 2019 by pledging to maneuver to the continent for a number of months in 2020.

Now it appears that evidently his enterprise will make that transfer first.

In a statement announcing the decision, Twitter described Ghana “as a champion for democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet.”

The social media big additionally cited Ghana’s internet hosting of the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as one more reason for shifting there, saying it aligns with “its ambition to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.”

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo stated “the choice of Ghana as headquarters for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news,” and described it as a “beautiful partnership between Ghana and Twitter and which is critical for the dev’t of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.”

No ease of doing enterprise

Some Nigerians blamed an inconducive business environment” for Twitter selecting Ghana over Nigeria.

“Under @MBuhari our ease of doing business is so bad that it’s easier for terrorists to get phone lines than law-abiding residents. You can land at Ghana’s Kotoka Airport and get a SIM card at the airport. But a camel has to pass through the eye of a needle to get one in Nigeria,” said Reno Omokri via Twitter, a former presidential aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Another Twitter person, lawyer Moe Odele wrote: “One of our clients wanted to open shop in Nigeria for their West Africa office. Once we sent them a breakdown of the regulatory requirements for their industry (also tech), they hit us with ‘we will get back to you.’ We haven’t heard back since then.”

Another commenter, Onye Ajuju, stated Twitter’s resolution was justified and that Nigerians had a “bloated sense of entitlement.”

“It’s unbelievable seeing Nigerians throwing a tantrum because Twitter went to Ghana. The lack of awareness of how bad things are in the country, the bloated sense of entitlement, the unhinged expectations that everyone should accept Nigeria’s dysfunction…it’s incredible!” she stated.

In 2019, Ghana ranked 13 places higher than Nigeria within the World Bank’s ease of doing enterprise index.
Google (GOOGL),Microsoft (MSFT) and Huawei are amongst worldwide tech giants which have expanded their operations in Ghana, focusing on software program builders and younger creatives on the continent.

In 2018, Facebook opened its first neighborhood hub house in Africa in Nigeria’s industrial metropolis, Lagos, whereas saying plans final yr to open an operational workplace additionally in Lagos, however for tech traders corresponding to Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, there are classes to be realized if Nigeria will proceed to draw much-needed overseas funding.

“We have to think carefully about the reasons why Twitter chose Ghana — not necessarily in the context of whether we want to bring Twitter to Nigeria or not, but in the context of what it will take for us to remain a competitive destination for investors,” Aboyeji advised CNN on Tuesday.

“We need to start thinking very carefully about enhancing democracy and the rule of law, freedom of speech, and most importantly, our role in enabling the Africa Free Trade Agreement. It’s not enough for us to just be a big market… We have next door to us, a very competitive neighbor, who’s doing all the right things to make itself the hub of West Africa,” he added.

‘A extra productive market’

Another Nigerian tech entrepreneur and investor Bosun Tijani, advised CNN that Twitter merely chose a extra productive market to run its Africa operations.

“While Nigeria has a huge market that Twitter would love to target, the business environment here is quite demanding… It’s strenuous…the cost of running a business here is high. But with the AfCFTA single market agreement which Africa is signed up to, a company like Twitter can choose to set up shop in a small market like Ghana — that gives the best opportunity for it to operate — and still serve the Nigerian market,” stated Tijani, who heads a tech innovation lab, CcHUB.

From tourism to tech, Ghana has been actively courting traders from the diaspora and particularly African-Americans.
Ghana additionally ranked because the forty third most peaceable nation on this planet, in the 2020 Global Peace Index, inserting 104 spots forward of Nigeria — which grapples with Boko Haram insurgency and periodic outbreaks of violence.

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