Victoria Bekiempis, The Guardian, November 29, 2019
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey said this week that he plans to move to Africa for up to six months next year. The tech executive announced the planned move following a month-long trip visiting entrepreneurs on the continent.
“Sad to be leaving the continent . . . for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!),” Dorsey tweeted from Addis Ababa on Wednesday. “Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part.”
Asked for comment, Twitter said in an email: “We’ve nothing to share beyond Jack’s initial tweet.”
Dorsey began traveling Africa on 8 November and visited Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, CNN reported.
In Ethiopia, he listened to startup pitches. In Nigeria, he had meetings with entrepreneurs and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Twitter board member who formerly worked as managing director of the World Bank.
Software developer Dara Oladosu, who created the Twitter bot Quoted Replies, which aggregates comments on tweets, received a job offer after meeting company executives, CNN said.
Dorsey also met bitcoin business owners in Ghana. Dorsey has expressed plans to integrate bitcoin use on Twitter and the payment app Square, according to CNN.
Africa’s tech industry is presently experiencing rapid growth. GSMA, a mobile services industry group, said there were 618 “active tech hubs” on the continent this year, up 40% from 2018. According to GSMA, Nigeria and South Africa have the most, with 85 and 80, respectively.
The Kenyan tech entrepreneur John Karanja launched BitHub, an incubator for cryptocurrencies, in 2015. Ethiopia’s government reportedly hopes that a tech-centric economy could create 3m jobs.
Dorsey’s African tour comes as social tech giants continue to face criticism over the spread of hate speech and misinformation online. Dorsey announced in October that Twitter would ban political advertising, putting pressure on Facebook to enact a similar policy.