Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Formally Backtracks On Planned Africa Move, Admitting A “Mistake”

By  |  March 6, 2020

Some few days back, we explained in detail why it is highly unlikely and borderline impossible for Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of both Twitter and Square, to go ahead with his plans of living in Africa for several months this year.

Not that this is some “we called it” moment, but it turns out Dorsey has formally announced that his planned move to Africa will have to wait for now.

After last year’s Africa tour, Dorsey announced his intention of spending between three to six months in Africa in 2020. However, at a conference in San Francisco hosted by Morgan Stanley, Dorsey said he was putting those plans on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak which has already caused Twitter to cancel all travels and events and encourage its employees around the globe to work from home.

“I had been working on my plans where I’d work decentralized, as my team and I do when we travel, but in light of COVID-19 and everything else going on I need to reevaluate,” said Dorsey.

“With everything happening in the world, particularly with coronavirus, I have to reconsider what’s going on and what that means for me and for our company.”

Globally, there are over 94,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 60+ countries and nearly 3,300 deaths, mostly in China.

Although Africa has recorded significantly fewer cases of the disease compared to other continents, cases have been recorded in Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, and most recently, South Africa.

At yesterday’s conference, Dorsey also said that he had made a mistake in failing to explain his reasons for wanting to spend time in Africa. He said Africa’s growing population and his belief in the benefits of a “distributed model” of work across time zones made the move desirable.

“My intention is not to go over and just hang out or take a sabbatical, but actually everything I’m doing in San Francisco, doing on another continent,” Dorsey said.

in any case, Dorsey maintained that they will continue to pursue opportunities in Africa, he acknowledged that Africa will be “one of the most populated continents” in the next 20 to 30 years, with a large part of the population still coming online. He said this presents a “huge opportunity” for young people on the continent to join Twitter.

When Dorsey made his Africa intentions known last year, many questioned the rationale behind such a decision.

With key events like the Olympic Games (which is now in doubt over coronavirus concerns) and the U.S. elections planned for this year, many thought Dorsey’s Africa move a bad idea, especially as it would be coming at a time when Twitter is struggling for revenue growth and new users.

At the moment, Dorsey is in danger of being deposed from his role as Twitter CEO following a recent onslaught by activist investors who believe Twitter is underperforming compared to its peers and Dorsey is not the man to make things better, especially as he is some sort of part-time CEO who runs Twitter alongside payments company, Square.

However, at yesterday’s event, Dorsey also said he has a “good sense of what is critical” in both Twitter and Square and “enough flexibility” in his schedule to focus on the most important priorities at each.

Featured Image Courtesy: BusinessInsider

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