Last Monday, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, via a tweet, announced that the social media would open an office in Ghana.
“Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo,” he said.
Although the American company did not categorically state that this new establishment would be its headquarters for African operations.
But Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a tweet that the country would be the location of Twitter’s headquarters on the continent.
Twitter's decision is a big milestone to the administration of President Akufo-Addo. On the other hand it serves as a soft reminder to other African countries that the technology market in the continent is now becoming a competitive sport, where every player needs to train harder.
The social media company disclosed that Ghana’s support for free speech and online freedoms made it the company’s choice for its first African office.
‘’Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area 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 said.
Nigeria would have been an ideal option considering the high number of twitter users in the country, which are growing daily. In 2012 there were an estimated 1,646,212 Nigerian twitter users, It is quite possible that the numbers might have doubled due to the country's growing rate of Information and Communication Technology(43,982,200 Internet users).
However, the African giant probably lost it’s chance of hosting Twitter operations in the Continent due to its ongoing debate on social media regulation, which comes with some draconian policies that threaten free speech.
On 5 November 2019, the Nigerian senate introduced the Anti-social Media Bill to criminalise the use of the social media in peddling false or malicious information.
Under the proposed Nigerian social media bill, which passed the second hearing: an individual can face three years imprisonment for spreading “fake news”.
Technology in Africa is thriving at a prosperous rate. One strong force behind the market growth is the expanding population of the continent especially in Sub-saharan Africa.
Furthermore, the rising population has created a market for technology enabled communication like social media and telecommunication.
Perhaps the opening of Twitter’s first office in a country that respects freedom of speech might serve as a motivation to other 54 African countries that foreign direct investment is at stake when making poor human right choices.
In 2019, Jack Dorsey the founder of Twitter visited Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa. During his time in Africa he explored the technological landscape of the continent and concluded that “Africa will define the future.