How Ghana Became Twitter’s Strategic African Outpost
Twitter has overlooked Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya—Africa’s three main tech hubs—to set up shop in Ghana. By building a team in the West African nation, the social media giant will now have an official presence in the continent.
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who made the announcement on Twitter, visited Ghana in 2019. Marking his first-ever visit to the continent, he also stopped by Nigeria Ethiopia, and South Africa.
Jack’s African tour came amidst criticism against social tech giants concerning the perturbing spread of misinformation and hate speech. Since then, the platform has been trying to curb such online menaces, as evident in its participation in the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria last October.
Twitter’s pursuit for a fake news-proof and hate speech-free world has led it to Ghana, one of the few African countries where the internet freedom is taken seriously. The country is not only one of the handful of nations on the continent that abstains from censoring the internet, even during polls.
Ghana’s democratic rule was apparent in the country’s quiet and peaceful elections last year. Meanwhile, electoral processes in countries like Uganda were even followed by social media and full internet blackouts. The country is also looking to enact a full internet tax nationwide.
On the 2021 African democracy index, Ghana falls in fifth place, making it the only West African country among the top 5. While Mauritius is the most democratic country in Africa today, the 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance ranks Ghana eighth among states for the participation of civil society organizations
“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” Twitter’s official statement reads.
Jack canceled his intended 6-month stay in Africa as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But despite the passing of no less than 18 months since then, he has continually shown interest in the continent’s tech-driven activities, especially Bitcoin.
Twitter isn’t the first internet-based multinational from Silicon Valley to set up shop in Ghana. In 2018, Google began building its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) center in Accra.
Facebook recently announced that it has started building a tam for its first African outpost, in Lagos, Nigeria. Spotify, PayPal, Netflix and other web-based services have also expanded into Africa.
Featured Image: Coin Telegraph