“I’m starting at a place called iHub, where entrepreneurs can build and prototype their ideas. Two of the engineers I met — Fausto [Marcigot] and Mark — designed a system to help people use mobile payments to buy small amounts of cooking gas, which is a lot safer and better for the environment than charcoal or kerosene. It’s inspiring to see how engineers here are using mobile money to build businesses and help their community,” Zuckerberg said, according to a report by Forbes.
Zuckerberg made the comments in Nigeria ahead of a trip to Kenya, which is leading the world in terms of mobile money. While in Nigeria, Zuckerberg also praised African entrepreneurs, saying he was struck by the entrepreneurial energy they possess. “I think when you’re trying to build something, what matters the most is who wants it the most. This is where the future is going to be built,” Zuckerberg said.
Upon landing in Kenya, Zuckerberg let his 78 million followers on Facebook know about his enthusiasm about Africa. “Just landed in Nairobi! I’m here to meet with entrepreneurs and developers and to learn about mobile money — where Kenya is the world leader,” Zuckerberg said. Kenya has 5.3 million Facebook users, many of whom use mobile to access the social network, the report noted.
Zuckerberg also checked out the office of BRCK, an internet connectivity device that has turned into an education system for the developing world. BRCK was cofounded by Erik Hersman, who is also the cofounder of Ushahidi, a real-time reporting tool that was created amid the violence in Kenya following on the heels of Kenya’s 2008 elections, which were highly disputed. That company, along with M-Pesa, are considered two of Kenya’s great success stories in the technology world. The comments on the part of the CEO of one of the world’s largest social media networks echoes similar comments President Barack Obama made last year when he visited Kenya. Back then, Obama praised entrepreneurs in Kenya, saying Africa needed to be a future hub for global growth, not just for growth in Africa.